Lionel Messi surpasses Gerd Muller; Barcelona throw water on Real Madrid’s title challenge with 3-0 win

Lionel Messi surpasses Gerd Muller; Barcelona throw water on Real Madrid’s title challenge with 3-0 win

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on target as Barcelona thrash Real Madrid 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Barcelona have all but laid their hands on the Spanish league trophy with a 3-0 win over Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. The two halves of the match can be treated as two different games itself. Real Madrid were the better team by a mile in a breathless first 45 minutes. But in the second half, Barcelona came back with a vengeance. Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi put the Catalans on the way to victory while Aleix Vidal scored in injury time just to add salt to the defending champions' wounds. Messi, with his second half penalty, became the highest scorer of all time for a single club in Europe's top clubs. It was his 526th goal for Barcelona, surpassing Gerd Muller's record. (Source: Reuters)

If the match was only about the first half, Real Madrid would have been considered unlucky to have not won this. Cristiano Ronaldo even turned the ball into the back of the net but was ruled offside. (Source: AP)

Real missed a number of good chances but the same can be said about Barcelona. The rather uncharacteristic slopiness up front was couple by some brilliant saves from goalkeepers Keylor Navas and Marc Andre Ter Stegen. (Source: AP)

Luis Suarez scored the first goal of the game. (Source: Reuters)

Suarez was then clobbered on the head by Real captain Sergio Ramos, who then followed that up by getting right in the referee's face. The latter was lenient enough to let him go with a yellow card. (Source: AP)

But the red card went to Dani Carvajal instead. It wasn't one that any of the Real Madrid players protested. A Barca move constructed by a brilliant Lionel Messi pass to Suarez. Navas was completely caught out by it but Suarez's final shot was kept out byu Carvajal parrying the ball away with his arm. It was a good save in his defence. (Source: Reuters)

Messi converted from the resulting penalty with aplomb, a laser of a shot into the top right corner. Game over. (Source: Reuters)

Or so it seemed. But Barca were hungry for more. They kept pushing until the final whistle and were rewarded for their efforts as Aleix Vidal scored a third. (Source: AP)

The defeat is pretty much a death knell for Real Madrid's title challenge. They now trail Barcelona by a whopping 14 points and remain fourth, three points behind third placed Valencia, five points behind Atletico at second. (Source: Reuters)