x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Advantage Barcelona as Lionel Messi punishes 10-man Real Madrid

Lionel Messi scores twice against a 10-man Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final at the Bernabeu.

Real Madrid 0 // Barcelona 2

MADRID // Lionel Messi's brilliant double gave Barcelona a 2-0 win over Real Madrid in a tempestuous Champions League semi-final first leg in which the Real manager Jose Mourinho, the Real defender Pepe and the Barca substitute goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto were sent off.

Messi's two goals, the second a sublime run and shot, settled a scrappy and tense affair at the Bernabeu and gave Barcelona a huge advantage to take back to Camp Nou.

The Argentine met Ibrahim Afellay's low cross from the right to volley through Iker Casillas's legs from close range 14 minutes from time to break the deadlock.

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Messi then netted a wonderful second on 87 minutes when he wove his way into the Real penalty area and slotted past Casillas to give the Catalan side a two-goal cushion to take into Tuesday's return leg back in Barcelona.

Mourinho was sent off for his protestations soon after the defender Pepe was dismissed in the 61st minute by the German referee Wolfgang Stark for a flying tackle on Daniel Alves. It is fourth time in a row that Real have been left with 10 men against their rivals.

Tempers had already flared at half-time with players and officials involved in a melee near the tunnel.

Jose Manuel Pinto, the Barcelona substitute goalkeeper, was sent off for his part in an unsightly fracas.

A confrontation between the Barca midfielder Seydou Keita and the Real defender Alvaro Arbeloa as they left the pitch appeared to spark the trouble, which was quickly ended by security staff and police.

Barcelona tried to capitalise on their extra man with David Villa forcing a fingertip save from Casillas on 68 minutes.

Then on 76 minutes Afellay, the substitute, crossed and Messi converted with a volley at the near post.

It was the first goal Real had conceded at home in the Champions League this season, but the second arrived ten minutes later with Messi running from deep at speed, evading two challenges before sliding a right-footed shot past Casillas.

It leaves Real with a mountain to climb against their arch rivals who have two crucial away goals and have already crushed Real 5-0 at home in the Primera Liga this season.