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El Clasico

Messi Strikes Late To Seal Victory Over 10-Man Real In El Clasico

Spanish La Liga 

Result: Real Madrid 2-3 FC Barcelona

Date: 23 April 2017

Venue: Santiago Bernabeu

Lionel Messi struck late in the second half, as FC Barcelona recorded a thrilling 3-2 win over Real Madrid in El Clasico on Sunday evening.

Gareth Bale was drafted straight into the Real line-up, with Isco dropping to the bench. While, Paco Alcacer replaced the suspended Neymar.

Los Blancos enjoyed an encouraging start to the encounter and signalled their intent to get an opening goal in the first 10 minutes.

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen came to Barca's rescue in the 21st minute, as the German shot-stopper produced a fine save to keep out Cristiano Ronaldo's low effort from inside the box.

It was the hosts who broke the deadlock in the 27th minute when Casemiro fired home from six-yards out, after Sergio Ramos had struck the upright.

Barcelona eventually leveled matters with the first meaningful chance in the 32nd minute as Lionel Messi skipped past two challenges before slotting past Keylor Navas.

The hosts were dealt a blow just before the break as Gareth Bale was forced off with an injury. He was replaced by Marcos Asensio.

Barca ended the half the stronger side, but the score remained 1-1 as the sides went into the halftime break.

Keylor Navas was called into action after 58 minutes as he produced a superb reflex save to keep out Gerard Pique's glancing header.

Ronaldo squandered a glorious chance to restore Real's lead in the 66th minute, as the Portuguese ballooned his effort over the crossbar, before Navas denied Luis Suarez at the other end.

However, Barca took the lead in the 74th minute as Ivan Rakitic evaded Toni Kroos before rifling the ball the into the top corner from 20-yards out.

Los Blancos were then reduced to 10 men in the 78th minute when Ramos was shown a straight red card for a lunge on Messi.

Despite being a man down, Real leveled matters in the 85th minute when substitute James Rodriguez turned home Marcelo's cross at the near post.

However, Barcelona clinched victory with the last kick of the game, as Messi curled the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box, 2-3.

Barca are now ahead of Real in the La Liga table, with both on 78 points but the Catalan's with the better head-to-head record. However, Los Blancos have played one game less.

 

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