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Lionel Messi saved Barcelona once again as he scored a late goal in stoppage time to seal a 3-2 win over a 10-man Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday, leaving the Spanish La Liga title race wide open.
Midfielder Casemiro put the Galacticos ahead in the 28th minute, only for Messi to equalize 5 minutes later, as he slotted past Keylor Navas after evading two Madrid defenders. It was an open game, with both teams looking to stamp their authority, but it was the Catalans who took the lead the second time around, in the 73rd minute through Ivan Rakitic.
Madrid then went a man down, after Sergio Ramos received his marching orders in the 77th minute. Somehow, Real Madrid came back to equalize through substitute James Rodriguez in the 85th minute. Messi, however, scored his 500th Barcelona goal in the second minute of stoppage time, to seal the win.
The result sees Barcelona go level on points with Madrid in the Liga standings and as a result of the head-to-head record, Luis Enrique’s men sit on top of the table. Here is how the Barcelona players fared on the night:
Easily one of his best displays for Barcelona. Misjudged Marcelo’s cross for Madrid’s opener, but was unbeatable after, that making a string of impressive saves to deny Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Marco Asensio.
Wasn’t all that comfortable dealing with Marcelo’s forward runs and Kroos’ passes inside Barca’s right channel, but left a mark on the game by playing a huge part in the winner for Barcelona, following a lung-busting run. An extra point for that.
Was given a hard time by Ronaldo in the first half, but grew into the game. Almost got himself on the scoresheet, but was denied by Navas.
Got away with an early challenge on Ronaldo inside the box, which could easily have been a penalty. Looked assured after that, but booked in the first half for another challenge on the Portuguese.
Never really threatened while going forward, more so after Asensio came on. But set Messi’s late winner with a lovely cut-back pass.
Was overrun at times by Kroos and Luka Modric, but was a steady presence in the middle of the park. Could have had done better in stopping Rodriguez’s goal.
Was quiet for large parts of the game and holed up in the defensive half, attempting to thwart the onrushing Marcelo. Unleashed a thunderbolt of a strike in the second period to put his team ahead.
Started the game strongly, dictating Barcelona’s game with his passing. But grew tired in the second half and failed to have the desired impact.
Brought Barca back into the game in the first half, with a brilliant solo goal before scoring the winner late in the game with a stunning curled effort – his 500th career goal for Barcelona. Couldn’t have come at a better time. Man Of The Match.
Five games without scoring – Suarez is struggling for form as he missed clear-cut opportunities. His all-round play was a huge disappointment as well.
Worked hard on the left-flank, but was a huge downgrade on Neymar. Missed a great chance in the second period, when he had only Navas to beat.
Replaced Alcacer late in the game. Did nothing of note, but was involved in the build up to the winning goal.
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