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Bellingham buries Barcelona's title hopes with late winner in El Clasico


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Jude Bellingham is the hero again.

Bellingham's 91st-minute goal in El Clasico on Sunday all but ended Barcelona's hopes of defending their La Liga title, giving Real Madrid a come-from-behind 3-2 win and extending their lead atop the standings to a near-insurmountable 11 points with six games remaining in the season.

Bellingham also scored a brace against Barcelona in the first El Clasico of the season in October, handing Madrid the early impetus in the title race with a 2-1 win.

This time, the English star, whose 17 goals only trail La Liga leader Artem Dovbyk's 18, smashed home from Lucas Vazquez's sweeping pass to spark scenes of jubilation at the Santiago Bernabeu.

It was Bellingham's first La Liga goal since scoring against Girona on Feb. 10.

Barcelona had never lost to Madrid in La Liga when leading twice in a game, but the Blaugrana failed to convert Sunday from 1-0 and 2-1 up.

Madrid first responded in the 18th minute when Vinicius Junior converted his first-ever penalty in La Liga. It canceled out Andreas Christensen's early opener for Barcelona.

With the score tied at one, Lamine Yamal thought he had restored Barcelona's advantage with a flick-on off a corner kick that seemed to cross the line before Madrid 'keeper Andriy Lunin could parry it away. As there's no goal-line technology in La Liga, neither the referee nor the VAR could definitively say whether the ball was in.

"I can't find the right words to explain what happened on the goal line in that situation," Barcelona 'keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen said afterward, according to The Athletic's Pol Ballus. "It is a disgrace to see this in world football. This industry moves so much money, but not for the things that are truly important."

Fermin Lopez eventually scored the go-ahead goal for Barcelona in the 69th minute. But Vazquez, who won Madrid's first-half penalty, again asserted his influence from an unusual right-back role, turning in Vinicius' cross-field ball to restore parity.

Bellingham has scored fewer goals since moving into a more withdrawn position in Carlo Ancelotti's system, but here he appeared when it mattered most.

The victory extends Madrid's unbeaten run to 17 matches across all competitions and comes days after they outlasted Manchester City on penalties to advance to the Champions League semifinals.

Carlo Ancelotti's side is seeking a fifth La Liga and Champions League double this season.

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