Santiago Bernebau silenced by ‘Messi-magic’
Late goal from Messi sealed the deal as FC Barcelona clinched a deserving 3-2 win over Real Madrid in a thrilling Clasico at the Santiago Bernabéu.
FC Barcelona keep their LaLiga’s title race alive with a 3-2 win over 10-man Real Madrid in the Spanish capital, courtesy of a stoppage-time strike from Lionel Messi. It appeared to be all tied up, but a magical goal from the visitors robbed Zidane’s men of a chance to close out the title.
The game started with a bang, in the 2nd minute Ronaldo had a penalty shout turned down when he looked to have been taken down in the box by Umtiti after touching the ball away from the Barcelona defender. However the referee adjudged there was no contact and allowed the teams to play on. But they deserved a penalty there.
Ronaldo tested ter Stegen minutes later when he found space down the right side, but the Portugal captain ignored Karim Benzema’s run before firing a lamely shot at the Barca keeper.
Real Madrid were dominating in the early stages and enjoyed all of the ball. In the 12th minute Casemiro was handed a Yellow Card when Casemiro slided straight through the back of Messi, with the Brazilian already making a cynical tackle. He will need to be careful from now on.
A bloody Messi was given medical treatment on the sideline after a Marcelo elbow caught him on the mouth as the two jostled for the ball. Messi, though, rejoined the match moments later.
Real Madrid took the lead in the 28th minute when Kroos whipped a corner into the box from the right-hand side, but a half-clearance found Marcelo in space on the edge of the box. The Brazilian whips in a second ball, which Sergio Ramos guides onto the post. The rebound falls to Casemiro, who tucks home a close-range finish.
But that’s a clear offside !! FC Barcelona players were furious over this decision. Barca wanted Casemiro’s opener chalked off as they claimed for offside against Ramos, which could have been given !!
But FC Barcelona quickly hit back as Messi netted his 499th Barcelona goal. In the 33rd minute Messi made it 1-1!! The Argentina international was picked out in the penalty area by a lovely pass from Rakitic, before darting into the box. He got beyond Carvajal with ease, before slotting home a great finish.
Luka Modric forced a fine save from Ter Stegen moments later from distance, but the Barca keeper was again up to the task, keeping the ball out at full stretch.
In the 38th minute Bale limped down the tunnel, with Asensio given the nod to get warm. Umtiti was handed a Yellow Card in the 39th minute for sliding in late on Ronaldo.
Madrid continued to dominate after the break, with Ter Stegen saving from Toni Kroos before he impressively managed to keep out a close-range Benzema header with his legs after great work from Marcelo down the left.
But Barca had a big chance of their own, Alcacer thwarted by Navas after a poor finish, having been found with space in the box by Rakitic.
FC Barcelona were badly missing Neymar and that was clearly visible. There wasn’t any build up of play from the left side as Alba was forced to defend as well as attack too from the left hand side after Alcalcer shifted to the CF position. Messi dropped deep to play the role of an anchor. Recently Rakitic’s, Iniesta’s and Busquets’ performance received heavy criticism but they were absolutely fantastic today. Raki and Iniesta had a pitch perfect match today.
Navas was questioned many times in the second half – the most notable of them coming in the 59th minute when Pique rose highest in the penalty area to power a header towards goal, after a corner delivery from the left. Navas jumped to his left to produce an excellent save.
Barcelona finally took the lead in the 73rd minute and this time it was RAKITIC, who was on target. The Croatia international checked onto his left foot on the edge of the box, before rattling a brilliant finish inside the far post. Navas had no chance.
Real Madrid’s hope of a last gasp equaliser received a huge blow as Ramos was shown a straight Red Card in the 77th minute for a wild, two-footed challenge on Messi who had pushed the ball well past the Spain international down the right. This was his fifth Clasico red-card.
But Zidane’s idea of replacing Benzema with James paid off immediately as he striked in the 85th minute to make it 2-2. The substitute was picked out by a low cross into the near post, and he thundered a close-range finish home! Nobody picked up his run at all.
Just when it seemed that it was all over Messi – who had been brilliant throughout the day -took the matter in his own hands.
Lionel Messi scored his 500th Barcelona goal in second-half stoppage time to send the travelling fans into tizzy. In the 90+2 minute Barcelona built the game from the back, with some neat play allowing for Sergi Roberto to drive forward through the midfield third. Barcelona broke down the left, before a low cross from Jordi Alba was guided home by Messi brilliantly.
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