The Catalan club now has a 12-point lead over second-place Madrid with 12 matches to go.

Barcelona took a major step towards winning their first league title since 2019 after coming from behind to beat Madrid 2-1.

Franck Kessie scored an injury-time winner to help the Catalan club go 12 points clear over second-place Madrid at the top of the league with 12 matches to go.

Barcelona were saved by the VAR for the second consecutive game, as Madrid had a goal by Marco Asensio ruled out in the 81st minute for offside.

“We are still not sure that it was an offside,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said about Asensio’s goal. “It didn’t look to be 100 percent an offside. We will go back to Madrid with that doubt.”

Soccer Football - LaLiga - FC Barcelona v Real Madrid - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - March 19, 2023 Real Madrid's Karim Benzema shoots at goal REUTERS/Nacho Doce
Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema shoots at goal [Nacho Doce/Reuters]

However, Barcelona coach Xavi said he was “surprised” by the Madrid coach’s comments. “It’s clear, offside is clear, it’s a scientific thing, no?,” Xavi told reporters. “Without VAR, everything is more difficult. It ends up being fairer, above all on offsides.”

Barcelona won eight league titles in 11 seasons through 2019. They finished second to Madrid in 2020, then third – behind Real Madrid and champions Atletico Madrid – in 2021, and second to Madrid again last season, the first after the departure of Lionel Messi.

Barcelona are aiming to win a 27th league title, which would leave it eight behind Madrid.

aljazeera