Barcelona beat Madrid, go 12 points clear in La Liga

Barcelona have taken a major step towards winning their first La Liga title since 2019 after coming from behind to beat Real Madrid 2-1.

Franck Kessie scored in added time at Camp Nou to give Barcelona the victory on Sunday and a 12-point lead over second-placed Madrid with 12 matches to go in Spain.

The Catalan club were saved by the VAR for the second consecutive game, as Madrid had a potential go-ahead goal by Marco Asensio rubbed out for offside in the 81st minute.

"We are still not sure that it was an offside," Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said.

"It didn't look to be 100 per cent an offside. We will go back to Madrid with that doubt."

Last week, Barcelona edged Athletic Bilbao when an 87th-minute equaliser by Athletic forward Inaki Williams was disallowed by video review.

"It was clearly offside, I'm surprised by Ancelotti's comments," Barcelona coach Xavi said.

"There is no debate. The result was fair."

Madrid needed a win in the last league "El Clasico" of the season to give them a realistic chance of defending their title.

Barca created most of the significant chances but the visitors opened the scoring in the ninth minute with an own-goal by Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo, who headed into his own net after a cross by Madrid forward Vinicius Junior from the left.

Sergi Roberto equalised after picking up a loose ball inside the area in the 45th and former AC Milan striker Kessie netted the winner after a late breakaway.

"We'll keep fighting," Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said.

"But we have to be honest, it's a four-game advantage. It's not impossible but its going to be difficult."

It was the second match between the rivals in less than three weeks. Barcelona won 1-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu on March 3 in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals. The return leg at Camp Nou is on April 5.

Barcelona won eight league titles in 11 seasons through 2019. They finished second in 2020, third in 2021 and second again last season. They are seeking a 27th league title, which would leave them eight behind Madrid.

Elsewhere, Takefusa Kubo scored as Real Sociedad beat last-placed Elche 2-0 to end a winless streak and regain fourth place.

Ander Barrenetxea also scored in the second half for Sociedad, who hadn't won in six games in all competitions and were eliminated from the Europa League on Thursday.

Sunday's win gave the Basque Country club a three-point gap over fifth-placed Real Betis in the fight for the Champions League places.

Betis ended a four-game winless streak in all competitions with Borja Iglesias scoring a second-half goal in a 1-0 home victory over mid-table Mallorca. Betis had been eliminated by Manchester United in the Europa League.

Villarreal, another Spanish club that failed to advance in European competition after losing to Anderlecht, rebounded in the league with a 3-0 win at Osasuna.