El Clasico: Cristiano Ronaldo strike earns Zinedine Zidane derby win

    Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates giving Real Madrid a late winner against Barcelona in El Clasico.

    Story highlights

    • Zinedine Zidane wins first El Clasico as head coach of Real Madrid
    • Barcelona led through Pique before Benzema and Ronaldo struck for Real
    • Los Blancos close the gap on Catalan rival to seven points

    (CNN)Zinedine Zidane masterminded an unlikely win in his first El Clasico in charge as Real Madrid head coach.

    Gerard Pique gave Barcelona the lead early in the second half, but goals from Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo sealed the three points for Real and ended Barca's 39-game unbeaten run in the process.
      "I liked everything from my players both defensively and offensively against a great team with very good players," Zinedine Zidane told reporters after the game.
        "When I see the team like this, fighting for their teammates, it is the best thing for a coach."
        Los Blancos went into the match 10 points behind its Catalan rival in La Liga's title race and while victory by no means puts it back in contention, the win has at least reignited faint hope that Barcelona can be caught.
        The game started at a frenetic pace, as Real captain Sergio Ramos picked up his customary yellow card inside ten minutes.
          Soon after, Neymar came away with the ball after a tussle with Ramos, raced into the Real penalty area and squared the ball to Luis Suarez.
          With the goal gaping, the Uruguayan somehow contrived to mis-kick his effort and the ball rolled harmlessly between his legs and out for a goal kick.
          After 14 minutes, all corners of the ground -- Barcelona and Real Madrid fans alike -- stood up in unison for a minute's applause in memory of Johan Cruyff.
          On an emotional night in Catalonia, Barcelona soon carved Real's defense open yet again. The ball found its way to Ivan Rakitic's feet after Pepe deflected Suarez's cross into the path of the Croatian.
          Real's Costa Rican keeper, Keylor Navas, got down quickly to his right to push Rakitic's curling shot away from danger.
          It took until two minutes before half time for Real to conjure up its first chance of the game.
          Following a marauding run forward, full-back Dani Carvajal picked out Benzema who was afforded the freedom of Barcelona's penalty box, but the Frenchman could only shin the ball high over the crossbar.