Barcelona remained eight points clear of Real Madrid in La Liga as the two rivals drew in the first of four games they will play in just over two weeks. A Lionel Messi penalty gave Barca an early second-half lead after Raul Albiol hauled David Villa to the ground with a challenge that saw him sent off. Real's equaliser was also provided by a penalty when Daniel Alves brought down fellow Brazilian Marcelo.
"I don't understand the reason why Dani Alves hasn't seen a second yellow after conceding a foul in the area for a penalty,'' said Mourinho. "I asked the fourth official why there wasn't a second yellow and he told me 'it's because he's a full-back'. "When everyone thought they could destroy us playing with one player more, for 45 minutes the team was strong enough to compete and strong enough to get a result, and if the referee gives, as he should have done, a second yellow card to Alves, the last 10 minutes playing 10 against 10, it could have been a different story.
"We do not usually talk about referees but sometimes we have to. They try to do their job and usually it goes well but other times they make mistakes. It was not a penalty. I won the ball cleanly," said the right-back. "We did a good job and we could have won easily. But football always give you another opportunity and we will have on Wednesday in the cup final to which we are very motivated after today's [Saturday's] result," he remarked.
5 wins and 1 draw, 17 goals scored and only 3 against. This is the positive balance of results that Guardiola has achieved since he became Barça first team manager. Guardiola’s Barça are still undefeated in games against Real Madrid.
After the draw In Madrid, Xavi Hernandez made it clear that: "In no way will Madrid’s morale be higher. We were the better team, faithful to our playing style and we’ll take a lot from the game, despite not getting the three points." He added: "We had control of the game, played with patience, and we defended very well, but the win escaped us in the end." In this sense, Xavi was a little surprised by Madrid’s approach to the match. "They allowed us to control the whole game. We didn’t expect that, we thought they would pressurise us high up the field," he said.
This was the captain’s first appearance since picking up a knee injury on January 23, and he was the big change in the Barça starting eleven. He performed brilliantly alongside Piqué in the centre of defence, but asked to be substituted in the 58th minute. In his post-match press conference, Pep Guardiola said Puyol had “worked extremely hard and has strained his hamstring a bit. But it’s not a serious injury and we will try to get him fit again for the future”.
Valencia improved their chances of securing third place and automatic qualification for next season's Champions League when they won 3-0 at bottom club Almeria in La Liga on Saturday. Second-half goals from in-form striker Roberto Soldado, defender Marius Stankevicius and substitute Jordi Alba sealed victory for Unai Emery's side and lifted them to 63 points.
The 23 year old Messi scored the fourth goal of his career, a penalty, in Madrid surpassing other Barça players, who had managed 3 goals in the Bernabéu: Zaldúa, Asensi, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and Henry.
Yaya Toure demonstrated power and poise to take advantage of Michael Carrick's mistake to score after 52 minutes and set up another Wembley date against either Bolton Wanderers or Stoke City in May.
Sahin is reported to be wanted by both Barcelona and Real Madrid and, although no offer has yet been received, Dortmund are resigned to losing him. "If Nuri has an offer from Real Madrid or Barcelona, then he obviously has every right to talk to us about it,'' said Dortmund's general manager Hans-Joachim Watzke to Bild am Sonntag. "Then we would sit down and discuss it.
Follow me on Twitter @aduckling_10