A thrilling match-up between two of Europe’s elite, Barcelona and Real Madrid ended 2-2 at the Camp Nou tonight. The hosts opened the scoring through Luis Suarez’s sublime volley towards the right post. Sergi Roberto found himself clear on the right with acres of space to exploit. He lobbed in a perfectly weighted ball to pick out the Uruguay international. 1-0.
Madrid was quick to equalize from one of their counter-attacks. Toni Kroos found Karim Benzema on the far post with a lobbed ball. The Frenchman, instead of trying for goal, set up the onrushing Cristiano Ronaldo who tapped it into the open net.
Unfortunately the Portuguese picked up a knock in the process and had to be substituted off after the first half.
Just minutes before the 45-minute whistle, drama ensued at the arena as players from both sides started to get into individual battles with the opposition.
Nerves were high and in the midst of it all, Sergi Roberto found himself on the referee’s books. Red carded and sent off for a distasteful challenge on Marcelo.
However, Barcelona looked anything but weak in the second half as they piled on the pressure by grabbing their second in the 52nd minute. A brilliant individual effort from Lionel saw the Blaugrana take the lead for the second time on the night. The Argentine just breezed past Varane and Ramos to create just a few inches of space towards his stronger left before dispatching one of most accurate shots towards the near post. 2-1.
The end-to-end affair kept on for another 15 minutes but Gareth Bale came on strong to end the Barcelona resilience. Marcos Asensio set up the Welshman at the edge of the penalty box, who curled in a thumping effort with his left. 2-2
Here is how the Galactico players were rated on the night.
Keylor Navas -7/10
Made some of the best reactionary saves tonight. Helpless for the first opposition goal but cannot be faulted much for the second either.
Sergio Ramos – 7/10
The lunacy that he brings to the football pitch has a hint of strategic thinking from the Spaniard. Was quick to get Messi in the referees books and held the Madrid backline with great vigour.
Raphael Varane – 7/10
Unfortunate to not get the foul for Suarez’s challenge but otherwise decent. Much better with his tackling and marking.
Nacho Fernández – 6/10
Did get beaten by Jordi Alba on a few occasions but the centre-back held his own.
Marcelo – 7/10
Spent majority of his minutes in the Barca half. Crossed in some of the most appetizing balls into the opposition box.
Casemiro – 6/10
Defensively astute but did get dispossessed off the ball on a couple of occasions.
Luka Modric – 7/10
Drifting out of tight spaces is almost second nature to him. The Croatian bossed the midfield with his high footballing IQ.
Toni Kroos – 7/10
He looked slow to get into the game but was crucial in setting up the first Madrid goal. Linked up the Madrid attacks with his characteristic long and diagonal balls.
Gareth Bale – 6/10
Lucky to be not sent off after a horror tackle on Samuel Umtiti. His goal sent us back to his Tottenham days. An exquisite finish.
Karim Benzema – 7/10
Very skilled with the ball as the Frenchman guided in the perfect ball to earn himself the assist.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 8/10
Got his team the equalizer but could have gotten a couple more as per his lofty standards.
Marco Asensio – 5/10
Not really effective other than the assist to Bale.
Lucas Vazquez – NA
Mateo Kovacic – NA