Barcelona took another step in sealing an undefeated season, with a 2-2 draw with bitter rivals Real Madrid on Sunday evening. The feisty encounter boiled over and Sergio Roberto saw a straight red at the end of the first half for striking Madrid defender Marcello.
It started so well for the right-back Roberto, who produced a perfect cross to set up Luis Suarez who volleyed in the opener with just nine minutes on the clock. Whilst Real hit back and found an equalizer just five minutes later, taking advantage of defensive uncertainty. Toni Kroos knocked in a cross to Karim Benzema who headed across the goal to give Cristiano Ronaldo an easy finish from three yards out. Ronaldo was tackled hard when tapping in the goal and was substituted at halftime.
The tie degenerated in the closing moments of the first half when Luis Suarez, Sergio Ramos & Lionel Messi picked up yellow cards. Whilst Roberto was given his marching orders seconds later for striking Marcello.
The Catalans seemed unfazed by being reduced to ten men, and impressed in the second half in their 4-3-2 formation, working well on the break. With 52 minutes on the clock, Suarez got the better of Verane and squared the ball to Messi who skipped around two Madrid defenders before arrowing the ball into the bottom corner. Inspired stuff from the Barcelona number ten. Iniesta made way for Paulinho to a standing ovation, in what was his final El Clasico as a Barca player.
Messi raced away on the counter and could have settled the tie, if not for a fine reaction save from Madrid stopper Kaylor Navas. From then on, Madrid made their numerical advantage count and with twenty minutes left to play Los Blancos found a leveller. Bale, who had up to that point had a quiet night, latched onto substitute Marco Asensio’s pass and struck a curling shot past ter Stegen to ensure that El Clasico ended honours even.