|Real Madrid's Luka Modric (L) tries to stop Barcelona's Lionel Messi during their Spanish first division soccer match at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid March 2, 2013. (Xinhua/Reuters)
MADRID, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Real Madrid took their second victory, a 2-1 win, over eternal rivals, FC Barcelona in just five days on Saturday afternoon in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Although the game had appeared as if it was to be slightly de-caffeinated following Real Madrid's 3-1 win over Barca in the Copa del Rey on Tuesday night and ahead of their Champions League clash away to Manchester United next Tuesday, the game picked up after a slow first half and ended up with a late deciding goal and controversy as Barcelona were denied what looked like a clear penalty in injury time.
With his side out of the battle for the league title and with a huge game on Tuesday night, Madrid coach Jose Mourinho rested key players for the match with even Cristiano Ronaldo on the subs' bench.
However, he was still able to count on players such as Kaka, Karim Benzema and youngster Alvaro Morata, who had an impressive game. It was his cross to Benzema after just six minutes which led to Benzema opening the scoring from close range.
Barca had looked slugging on Tuesday night and in the Bernabeu they were still looking off the pace, with a lot of possession, but little penetration until Leo Messi latched onto Dani Alves' pass after 19 minutes to level the score.
The rest of the half gave little to talk about with Barca keeping the ball and Madrid happy to let them do so as both goalkeepers enjoying a relatively calm afternoon under the Madrid sunshine.
The second half had threatened to go the same way before Mourinho's decision to introduce Ronaldo and Sami Khedira on for Benzema and the disappointing Kaka saw Madrid recover the initiative.
Ronaldo forced a fine save from Victor Valdes midway through the half in a game that was becoming increasingly fractious and lacking in rhythm due to the continual interruptions in the play.
Meanwhile Barca were again starting to look flatfooted and happy to settle for a draw which would have allowed both sides to retain their pride.
They paid for that lack of ambition in the eight minutes from the end when Sergio Ramos got a flick on a Luka Modric corner to give Madrid the lead.
It looked as if Barca were not even going to have a chance of leveling the scores as they struggled out of their lethargy, but deep into injury time Adriano twisted into the Madrid area where he looked to be fouled by Sergio Ramos only for referee Perez Lasa to wave play on.
The subsequent complaints by the Barca players saw Valdes shown a red card, meaning that in the closing minutes at least the game recovered the intensity of previous clashes.