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Real Madrid 2-3 Barcelona, El Clásico 2017: Match Review

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A big win at the Bernabeu! La Liga wide open?!

Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

It's always a special occasion when El Clasico comes around the corner. The fixture is one of the biggest sporting events on the planet, with a rivalry that is as much political as it is about football.

Who would walk away with the bragging rights this time at the Santiago Bernabeu?


First Half:

Kick off.

An early battle in midfield ensued, as both teams struggled to gain control of the middle of the park.

Some early tactical variations could be seen from Madrid, as Cristiano appeared to be playing on the right side to great effect managing to find pockets of space between Umtiti and Alba with assistance from Carvajal.

The Portuguese went down in the box after a late challenge from Umtiti, but the referee remained oblivious.

After being bombarded by the capital side, Barcelona broke free on the counter only for Carvajal and Casemiro to close down Iniesta on the left flank. Madrid however, would counter in the form of Cristiano Ronaldo, who took a long shot, straight at Ter Stegen; the German did his part in keeping danger at bay.

The men in white had looked dominant in the opening ten minutes, and Barça were struggling to keep up with Madrid's pace on the counter.

An excellent counter that began at the feet of Lionel Messi would end with a Luis Suarez strike that went wide; brilliant cross from Paco Alcacer, and a thunderous strike from the Uruguayan.

Moments later, Casemiro entered the referee's book with a yellow, as the Brazilian brought down Messi with a cynical challenge from behind.

A good spell of possession allowed Barça to gain some semblance of control in a hostile environment.

Another counter from Barça 20 minutes into the game, ended with a sloppy finish from Suarez, as the Uruguayan squandered a cut-back from Paco Alcacer.

In a shocking sight, Lionel Messi began to bleed from his mouth as he got elbowed in the face by Marcelo enroute to a Madrid counter-attack. The Argentine got a bit of treatment before entering play with a tissue in hand to keep the blood at bay.

In a chaotic moment for Barça from a Real Madrid set-piece, Sergio Ramos struck the woodwork only for Casemiro to put the rebound in the back of the net.

1-0, Real Madrid.

If there was anyone who could bring back Barça into the game, it was Lionel Messi and he did just that as he dribbled past the Madrid defence in tight space to place his shot in the bottom corner past Keylor Navas.

1-1.

With ten minutes left in the first half, Gareth Bale who was apparently rushed back from injury, went down clutching his leg, which meant that Asensio made his way onto the pitch for the Welshman. Samuel Umtiti entered the referee's book in the following minute, for a late challenge on Cristiano Ronaldo.

The final few minutes of the half were end-to-end as both teams tried to carve themselves an opportunity of getting ahead in the game with neither getting over the line before the referee's whistle.

Second Half:

The second half began with no new changes from either side.

Neither team had made an impact in the early moments, with the shoves and kicks coming out in full galore.

The Catalans struggled to get out of their own half under Madrid's pressure, which eventually led to a Marcelo cross for Benzema. The Frenchman however, was closed down quickly by Ter Stegen.

Moments later, Paco Alcacer found himself with space inside the Madrid box, but failed to make use of Alba's pass with a weak shot straight at Navas.

Another chance for the Catalans as Suarez failed to control a wonderful through-ball from Messi in the opposition box.

Gerard Pique nearly gave Barça the lead, as he connected to a corner ball, with enough venom to tear up the net, only for Navas to bear the sting on his palms.

The game had settled into a steady rhythm with both sides taking a few minutes with the ball, before conceding possession to the other side.

In a dangerous counter-attack, Asensio put Cristiano in an excellent position to score, but the Portuguese wasted his opportunity. Moments later, Suarez would have his shot at goal, only for Navas to make an excellent save.

With twenty minutes on the clock, Luis Enrique took off Paco Alcacer for Andre Gomes, in a direct substitution positionally.

In outstanding fashion, Ivan Rakitic turned back the clock, as he took a rocket from outside the box, to sizzle his shot into the far post to give Barça the lead.

1-2, Barcelona.

Madrid picked up the pace, trying to get the advantage, but in a reckless move, Sergio Ramos brought down Lionel Messi with an incredibly late challenge, which left the referee with no other choice but to flash the red.

With only ten men on the field, it looked impossible for Madrid to come back. Gerard Pique had another chance at goal, but Keylor Navas retorted with a sensational save. New entrant Kovacic would bring down Messi, and enter the referee's book; James came on for Madrid, in the hope of scrapping a draw.

With Madrid chasing a goal, their ten-man effort seemed inadequate. However, James Rodriguez did the impossible as he finished Marcelo's cross from close range.

2-2.

Could this game have another goal in it?

Both sides were giving it their all, and neither was satisfied with a win. Madrid continued their onslaught on Ter Stegen despite being a man down.

However, it was Messi who came to the fore as he finished off what began as another iconic dribble from Sergi Roberto.

Messi took his shirt off, held his jersey bold and high in front of the Santiago Bernabeu, giving us all an image, that will remain etched in our memories for the rest of our lives.

2-3, Barcelona.

The referee blew his three pips to bring an emphatic game to it's end.


Say what you want, but La Liga just got blown wide open, and we have one man to thank for it.

Onwards and upwards.