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Monday, 24 April 2017

Real Madrid 2-3 Barcelona and Here is How It Happened's live text coverage of the El Clasico showdown between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Estadio Bernabeu.

The onus is on the visitors to pick up victory on enemy territory this evening, as they trail their rivals by three points at the top after playing a game more.
Head-to-head comes into effect in La Liga if
required, making this clash even more important, but it is Los Blancos who head into this match on the back of a better run of fun after going 10 league games without defeat.


REAL MADRID: Navas; Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo; Casemiro, Modric, Kroos; Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema

BARCELONA: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta; Messi, Suarez, Alcacer

Where to even begin summing that game up? It was everything it was billed up to be - and more! Casemiro's opener feels like a lifetime ago, as Lionel Messi and Ivan Rakitic helped to cancel it out, before James Rodriguez bagged what appeared to be a dramatic late leveller. Madrid pushed for a third and were caught out, with Messi winning the match with the final meaningful kick of the game. Thanks for joining our live coverage of the match!


90+3 min OH MY WORD!!!! A 500th Barcelona goal for Messi, at the Bernabeu of all places, has just completely changed the complexion at the top of La Liga. From one of the last acts of the game, the ball was cut back to the little maestro and he beautifully tucked home.


90 min SAVE! Asensio denied by Ter Stegen and Ronaldo then unable to convert. Good stop from the Barca man at his front post, with Madrid the team asking all the questions in the dying embers of this thrilling affair.

88 min SAVE! Madrid going all out for the win, rather incredibly. James looked to tuck the ball past Ter Stegen, but the Barca stopper got down well to keep it out. There is still time left for one of these times to find a winner.

86 min On the field for a matter of moments, Rodriguez gets the beating of his man with a simple front-post run to tuck Marcelo's cross into the roof of Ter Stegen's net. With that goal, Los Blancos are now back top of the table!


83 min YELLOW CARD! Mateo Kovacic is shown a yellow card for a strong challenge on Messi, who has well and truly been in the wars today. James Rodriguez is now on in place of Benzema - the Frenchman not really having the finest of games.

81 min SAVE! Pique with a chance to seal the win, bringing the ball under control when left on his own in the box but firing at Navas when one-on-one. That was Barca's big opening to surely put three more points on the board.

79 min A 22nd red card for Ramos in his career, and what a costly one this latest one could be. Barcelona now in the driving seat heading into the final 10 minutes, knowing that top spot is theirs as things stand at the Bernabeu.

77 min RED CARD! For the second Clasico clash in a row here, Ramos is dismissed by referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez. Looked questionable at first, but replays show that it was the right call as he lunged in on Messi two footed.

75 min SHOT! Ronaldo with a weak shot down the middle, which Ter Stegen is happy to collect. It will be interesting to see how Barca approach these final 15 minutes - do they sit back and invite pressure or instead fight fire with fire?

73 min An absolute beauty from Rakitic may have just blown the title race wide open! The Croat worked some space on the edge of the box and curled it beyond the reach of Navas, sparking scenes of joy on the Barcelona bench. This one is not over yet!


70 min SUBS! Casemiro, perhaps fortunate not to have been dismissed in the first half, is replaced by Kovacic for the final 20 minutes - a smart change. A bit of tweaking for the visitors, too, as Gomes is on for Alcacer up top.

68 min CHANCES! A crazy 60-second spell as Ronaldo failed to convert from seven yards out when Asensio squared the ball to him, before Suarez was denied at the back post when looking to fire past Navas. Both should have scored.

66 min Asensio with a decent delivery from the right-hand side, which Ronaldo should have done more with. The Portuguese went for the spectacular with an acrobatic attempt, but he was unable to find the target with a flat effort.

64 min Still we await the first changes of the second period, with a little over 25 minutes left on the clock. The chances have dried up all of a sudden, but still the attacking intent from both teams is quite clear to see.

62 min Carvajal, the only outfield Madrid player without a goal this term, weaves past a couple of players but runs into a sea of bodies. Risks are now being taken by Barcelona, who know that they really need a goal to keep the title race fully alive.

60 min A few mistakes starting to creep in now, with both teams looking a tad sloppy of the past few minutes. Got to wonder how fatigued the Madrid players are feeling, having played 120 minutes in midweek against Bayern Munich here.

58 min It appears as though Enrique will make a change in the next few minutes, while Zidane is holding off for now if the activity down on the touchline is anything to go by. Truly massive final 30 minutes ahead at the Bernabeu.

56 min SAVE! Cannot take your eyes off this one. Pique with a real bullet header, but Navas was equal to it with two big palms to ensure that the scoreline remains at 1-1. That third goal of the match will surely arrive soon!

54 min CHANCE! How big could these missed chances at both ends prove to be? The ball fell nicely for Paco Alcacer, who could not prod it beyond Navas when essentially one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

52 min SAVE! Glorious chances for Benzema to put his side back in front, but he could only head Marcelo's cross pretty much right at Ter Stegen. Credit to the Barca man for positioning himself well, because he was second favourite to win that battle.

50 min SAVE! Similar to the first half, Los Blancos are much quicker out of the blocks and attacking in number. A Kroos drive was creeping in off the post, but Ter Stegen pulled off the second real top-quality save of the night.

48 min Asensio is such a promising attacker, driving at the Barca backline and then playing it out wide. The cross was destined for Benzema to tap home, if not for a fine Pique block to help the ball behind for a corner kick.

46 min RESTART! We are back underway at the Estadio Bernabeu, where there is no news of any half-time changes from either camp. Barcelona need a goal in this second half if they are to realistically overhaul Real Madrid at the summit.
A big, big chance goes begging for Messi from the final kick of the first half. Suarez blocked off the path of Navas from a corner and Messi was at the back post with a big area of the net to aim for, but he somehow fired wide. Before that, Casemiro was lucky to avoid a second yellow for a cynical block. All square at the break - one apiece.


45 min Half a chance for Alba racing in at the back post, but he was unable to turn his shot on goal under some pressure 15 yards out. It was Messi with that previous shot, incidentally, which deflected wide only for a goal-kick to be given.

43 min A shot from the edge of the Madrid box deflects behind. The referee clearly did not spot it, though, because a goal-kick was instead awarded, as we enter the final two minutes of normal time at the end of this first half.

41 min REAL MADRID SUB! It is indeed Asensio who is introduced for the injured Bale. The youngster has done well when turned to this term, netting nine times. Umtiti has just been booked for a lunge on Ronaldo.

39 min Real Madrid are temporarily down to 10 men as Bale has hobbled down the tunnel with another muscle injury. Isco the most likely to be introduced by Zidane in the next few minutes, with half-time fast approaching.

37 min SAVE! As ever, it has been a gripping first half in this heavyweight tussle at the top of La Liga. Another good save from Ter Stegen, this time to keep out an absolute bullet from Modric on the edge of the box.

35 min Superb goal from Messi, who has ended his El Clasico duck. Six games without scoring in this fixture, stretching back to 2014, but he weaved his way past a couple of bodies and tucked home from Barcelona's first attempt on target.


32 min A deserved goal for Madrid on the basis of the opening 30 minutes. Barcelona have made a couple of openings, but they have yet to test Navas and are not really into their rhythm in this El Clasico showdown at the Bernabeu.

30 min All the superstar forward on display and it is defensive midfielder Casemiro who opens the scoring! A scrappy goal it was, too, as Ramos's back-post shot from a deep free kick came off the post and rolled across for the Brazilian to tap in.


27 min Benzema gives possession away cheaply when he had Ronaldo waiting to be played in. Real, bar a five-minute spell, have been in completely control of the match and probably should have opened the scoring by now.

25 min The ball looked like running through for Bale, who just squandered that half-decent chance, but Ronaldo instead takes over and curls a shot over the crossbar. Seven or eight attempts from Los Blancos in the opening 25 minutes.

23 min Bale goes for the element of surprise but cannot find a way through, as the Madrid shot count continues to tick over. Messi now back on the field of play, holding a tissue to his bloodied mouth after that collision with Marcelo.

21 min Alejandro Jose Hernandez Messi has just taken a blow to the face - Marcelo leading with his arm and catching his fellow South American. Prior to that, Ronaldo's curler was heading for the bottom corner if not for a big Ter Stegen stop.

19 min SAVE! A lovely cushioned pass allowed Suarez to take on the volley from the edge of the box, but he cannot keep it on target. Up the other end, Modric's run ends with Benzema's weak attempt being kept out by Ter Stegen.

17 min First piece of Messi brilliance of the night, as he weaved his way through from the halfway line but opted to try to pick out a teammate in the box rather than going on himself. The wrong choice in the end, as it was overhit.

15 min Bale is on the right-hand side this evening, incidentally, up against Alba. Barcelona have seen more of the ball in the past five minutes or so, after a dominant Real start, but they have yet to test Navas with an attempt on target.

13 min YELLOW CARD! A pretty needless booking for Casemiro, who fouls Messi right on the halfway line to rightly earn an early caution. The Brazil international is in the side to put in strong tackles, but he is now walking a tightrope.

11 min SHOT! Barca's best move of the match so far, culminating in Iniesta cutting the ball back for Luis Suarez on the edge of the box. The Uruguayan was not too far wide, sending the ball flying past Navas's post.

9 min Casemiro and Ramos combine to take Suarez out of the game on the edge of the box, and the Barca striker stays down clutching his chest. Looked to have caught the knee of Ramos in his rubs, but he is now OK to continue.

7 min SAVE! Real hit their opponents on the counter, with Kroos giving Ronaldo a chance to chase down the ball. Chase it down he does and, after cutting inside, there was only one thing on his mind - take on the shot, which Ter Stegen got behind.

5 min A dominant start from the league leaders, as Carvajal gets to the byline but is unable to pick out a teammate - Bale the man best placed. A cross then came in from the right, but it was a little too deep for Benzema at the back post.

3 min PENALTY APPEAL! A huge call for referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez to make inside the opening minute of the match. Umtiti caught the leg of Ronaldo and got none of the ball, but the official did not have a clear view of it and waved the appeals away.

1 min KICKOFF! Real Madrid get this latest El Clasico showdown under way, attempting to maintain their three-point advantage - or even extend it - come the end of the 90 minutes. Barcelona, quite simply, cannot afford to lose.
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