Real Madrid snatched a late point at the Camp Nou against Spanish rivals Barcelona in the first 2016-17 installment of El Clasico.
Heading into today’s showdown Real Madrid was in top spot on 33 points, while Barcelona was in second on 27. Luis Enrique‘s side drew at Real Sociedad 1-1 a week ago, while Zinedine Zidane‘s side defeated Sporting Gijon 2-1 at the Bernabeu.
Madrid were looking to keep their unbeaten league run going, while Barcelona were trying to keep close to their opponents.
In the scoreless opening half, Cristiano Ronaldo had a handful of chances saved by Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen while Leo Messi also had a lone Barca chance saved by Keylor Navas. Madrid defender Raphael Varane also had a header saved by the German keeper.
Eight minutes into the second half, Luis Suarez put Barca in front heading home a Neymar cross. It was the Uruguayan’s ninth league goal of the campaign, while Neymar chipped in his 13th assist in all competitions.
As the second half rolled on, Real Madrid fought and fought to get an equalizer. After it looked like Barcelona would hold on for a crucial win, Sergio Ramos headed home for a late point. The defender headed home his third league goal of the season from Luka Modric‘s cross which found the bottom left corner.
Barcelona almost had an even later winner, but a header from Sergi Roberto was cleared off the line. At the final whistle, the teams shared the points which kept Real unbeaten. Barcelona out-possessed Real 55%-45% but only had two shots on goal. Real forced four saves out of Ter Stegen, while Navas made one save.
Without forward Gareth Bale and midfielder Toni Kroos out with injuries, it was a crucial point for visitors Real. Barcelona have now gone three league matches without a victory.
According to BBC Sport, Real Madrid have scored more headers in La Liga this season (9). Ramos’ header could not have come at a better time for his team as they look to head into the winter break in top spot.
Both teams will be in action midweek in the UEFA Champions League as the group-stage comes to a close. Real Madrid need to defeat visitors Borussia Dortmund at the Bernabeu on Wednesday to finish at the top of Group F.
Barcelona, who have already clinched the top spot in Group C, host Borussia Monchengladbach on Tuesday.
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