The game will be remembered for a horrendous foul by Marcelo on Cesc Fabregas and the ensuing brawl that saw two men sent off, but Barcelona once again showed they are the team to beat in Spain and Europe.
The game may have been a lot closer than the 5-0 drubbing in La Liga last season, or the Champions League semi final, but Barcelona still managed to stick three goals past a highly organised Real side and showed once again why they are 4/9 favourites to win La Liga.
Andres Iniesta put Barcelona in front before Lionel Messi doubled their lead. But Real fought back with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.
They look to be enough to force extra-time before Messi again popped up with the winner in the 87th minute.
However, it was the sending-off of Marcelo and the actions of Jose Mourinho – who poked Barca’s assistant coach in the eye – that will linger long in the memory.
Mourinho said: “We played both matches very well, we were fantastic.
“If we look at the matches in the last four months, we will see there is a great balance. Many draws, one victory for us in a final and one for them today.”
Meanwhile, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique simply said: “Someone has to take action on the matter. Mourinho is destroying Spanish football.”
It may not be pretty but, by getting under the skin of Barcelona – as Mourinho most certainly has been doing – the gap between the sides has closed significantly in the past year.
It hasn’t closed enough though for Real to oust Barcelona from the top of the Spanish table though. Backing Barcelona to retain their La Liga title at 4/9 still looks the bet.