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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

El clasico: Cristiano Ronaldo injury 'a small thing' as Real Madrid's Gareth Bale denies 10-man Barcelona victory

  • Real hold Barca to 2-2 draw in battle at Camp Nou
  • Bale fires 72nd minute equaliser to silence home crowd
  • Ronaldo also scores for Real but suffers ankle injury
  • Suarez and Messi on target for Barca who stay unbeaten
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo scored an equaliser against Barcelona before being forced off injured in the 2-2 draw at Camp Nou Emilio Morenatti / AP Photo
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo scored an equaliser against Barcelona before being forced off injured in the 2-2 draw at Camp Nou Emilio Morenatti / AP Photo

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale lashed home to deny La Liga champions Barcelona victory in an ill-tempered clasico which finished 2-2 at Camp Nou on Sunday after the home side had Sergi Roberto sent off at the end of the first half.

Luis Suarez volleyed unbeaten Barca into the lead after 10 minutes following a gut-busting run and cross from Roberto while Cristiano Ronaldo levelled for Uefa Champions League finalists Real five minutes later from close range.

However, the Portugal forward's ankle was trodden on by Gerard Pique in the process and he was substituted at half time. Manager Zinedine Zidane said the injury was "a small thing" and Ronaldo will be fit for the Champions League final against Liverpool on May 26.

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Bale had risked getting sent off for raking his studs against Samuel Umtiti's leg but escaped without a booking on that occasion and Roberto was sent off moments later for hitting Marcelo following an off-the-ball tussle.

Lionel Messi scored a mesmerising, record-extending 26th clasico goal to put 10-man Barca back in front after 52 minutes but Bale, who had contributed little, silenced the Camp Nou with a thumping strike from the edge of the area in the 72nd.

Champions Barca have 87 points while Real are third in the Liga standings with 72 after 35 games. Atletico Madrid, who lost their unbeaten home record in a 2-0 defeat by Espanyol erlier on Sunday, are second on 75 but have played one game more.

"This was a clasico with nothing at stake but we saw a great game," Zidane told reporters. "We both went out to play well and win. We both played a great game and football is always the most important thing, not the controversy."

Real Madrid's Welsh forward Gareth Bale, right, celebrates with teammate Marco Asensio after scoring a late equaliser against Barcelona at Camp Nou. Lluis Gene / AFP
Real Madrid's Welsh forward Gareth Bale, right, celebrates with teammate Marco Asensio after scoring a late equaliser against Barcelona at Camp Nou. Lluis Gene / AFP

Eight yellow cards

This was the first clasico in a decade which had no bearing on the title race but the game was still played with all the usual passion and tension which makes it the most famous club fixture in Europe.

Referee Alejando Hernandez Hernandez showed a total of eight yellow cards as well as the straight red for Roberto.

Bale was eventually booked as was the usually even-tempered Messi, who made an uncharacteristically aggressive challenge on Sergio Ramos after the Real captain had an ugly confrontation with Suarez which led to both players getting yellow cards.

Suarez appeared to have fouled Raphael Varane in the build-up to Messi's goal and the Uruguayan forward had a goal ruled out for offside three minutes later.

"Clasicos should be played like this, it was a beautiful game," Suarez told reporters.

"We wanted to win it, Sergi's sending off damaged us, especially against a team like Real Madrid. But a draw also isn't a bad result for us given how the game went."

Both sides pushed for a winner and Real could have had a penalty when Jordi Alba caught Marcelo but Barca clung on to remain unbeaten in the league with three games to go.

Barcelona's players remained on the pitch after the game to celebrate their double success with the home fans, having clinched the title last week at Deportivo La Coruna and won the Copa del Rey final against Sevilla on April 21.

Real refused to offer the traditional guard of honour to the champions before the game so Barca defender Gerard Pique asked the Catalan club's coaching staff to form two lines either side of his teammates as they left the pitch.

MATCH INFO

Barcelona 2
Suarez (10'), Messi (52')

Real Madrid 2
Ronaldo (14'), Bale (72')

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