BARCELONA: Real Madrid were plunged further into crisis after the world and European champions were thrashed 5-1 by BArcelona in Camp Nou in the Spanish league Clasico.

The future of beleaguered coach Julen Lopetegui had appeared to rest on the outcome and now his tenure, controversial ever since his il-starred appointment on the eve of the World Cup in June, is not expected to last more than a matter of hours or days. Favourite to replace him is Antonio Conte, the former Juventus, Italy and Chelsea manager.

Barca’s Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring in the 11th minute following a slick team move and Suarez doubled their advantage on the half-hour mark by converting a penalty awarded after consultation with the video assistant referee (VAR).

Madrid had looked lifeless in the first half but raised their game after the interval and pulled a goal back through Marcelo. They even came close to an equaliser as Luka Modric struck the post and Sergio Ramos headed narrowly over.

As Madrid pressed forward, so Barcelona were ultimately able to hit them on the counter-attack and achieve a somewhat flattering margin of victory with two more goals from Suarez and a header from substitute Arturo Vidal.

That added up to a third successive LaLiga defeat for Madrid who are seven points behind Barcelona in the table. This was their worst defeat in a Clasico since a 5-0 defeat by 2010.