Lionel Messi scored a dramatic stoppage time goal to clinch a Clasico win for Barcelona to draw the Catalans level with Real Madrid at the top of La Liga.
The hosts looked to have done enough for a point, despite the sending off of Sergio Ramos, with James Rodriguez scoring a late equaliser. But Messi netted deep into added time to give Barcelona the win that could ultimately save their season.
Real Madrid took the lead after 28 minutes when Casemiro finished from close range after Ramos had hit the post from a free-kick. Barcelona levelled through Messi soon after, dribbling past two Real defenders before finishing past Keylor Navas.
Ivan Rakitic’s stunning strike from the edge of the box to put the visitors 2-1 looked to have shifted the clash in Barcelona’s favour, especially after the dismissal of Ramos for a rash challenge on Messi, but James scored against the odds to make it 2-2, only for Messi to decide it late on, putting the buffers on Real Madrid’s title charge.
TALKING POINT - Zinedine Zidane’s decision to start Gareth Bale cost Real Madrid
Zidane’s call to hand Bale a starting spot was surprising, with the Welsh winger still recovering from injury. Indeed, he only lasted 38 minutes, with Real Madrid’s game plan scrapped as he limped off having aggravated his hamstring. Bale could now be out for a number of weeks when his team needs him most. Zidane’s decision backfired.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen kept Barcelona in the game with a number of important saves, but Messi was the difference maker for the Catalans. His first goal came at a crucial point of the contest, equalising just as Real Madrid were looking to tighten their grip, with his second coming deep into stoppage time. Messi was the driving force behind this Barcelona win, with Enrique’s side back in the thick of the title race.
Real Madrid - Navas 8, Carvajal 7, Ramos 4, Nacho 7, Marcelo 8, Kroos 5, Casemiro 5, Modric 6, Bale 4, Benzema 5, Ronaldo 6. Subs - Asensio 6, James 7, Kovacic 5.
Barcelona - Ter Stegen 8, Roberto 7, Pique 6, Umtiti 5, Alba 7, Busquets 6, Rakitic 7, Iniesta 6, Messi 8, Suarez 5, Paco 5. Subs - Gomes 5.
3’ RONALDO CLAIM FOR A PENALTY! The Portuguese is adamant that he should have had a spot kick as Umtiti swings a leg in the box. Replays show that he certainly had a strong case.
23’ MESSI IS BLEEDING! The Argentine has taken a real sore one here. Marcelo caught him with an elbow and Messi now has a mouthful of blood. Replays show it was accidental.
29’ GOAL! Real Madrid 1-0 Barcelona: The home side have the lead! It wasn't a pretty goal, but it's certainly an important one! Marcelo puts the cross into the box, with Ramos hitting the post, but Casemiro was on hand to turn home the finish from close range.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: Messi scores stunning stoppage-time winner as Barca win Clasico thriller