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Primera División

  • 16 April 2011
  • • 21:00
  • • Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
  • Referee: César Muñiz Fernández
  • • Attendance: 80000

Real Madrid 1-1 Barcelona: Cristiano Ronaldo cancels out Lionel Messi opener for 10-man hosts as Barca remain eight points clear in La Liga

Real Madrid 1-1 Barcelona: Cristiano Ronaldo cancels out Lionel Messi opener for 10-man hosts as Barca remain eight points clear in La Liga

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Raul Albiol sent off as tale of two penalties means the first of four Clasicos ends all square after a fractious encounter that leaves Mourinho's men trailing in La Liga

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Cristiano Ronaldo converted a late penalty to ensure 10-man Real Madrid claimed a draw with Barcelona in the first of four Clasico encounters in three weeks.

Lionel Messi had opened the scoring from the spot early in the second half after Raul Albiol was sent off for hauling down David Villa in the box.

The opening exchanges were fast paced and energetic as the two teams looked to gain an advantage but neither side were able to keep hold of possession to make an impact on the game.

Ronaldo had the game’s first shot on target after Sami Khedira had been fouled. The Portuguese striker took his customary stance before firing towards Victor Valdes’ goal but the keeper was able to make an easy save.

Real Madrid’s defence was left motionless when Messi ran in behind them. The Argentine controlled it instantaneously before looking to chip Iker Casillas but the Spanish No.1 was able to pluck the ball out the air.

Los Blancos looked to run the Blaugrana defence as they threatened the Barca goal with a purpose. Karim Benzema saw a shot fumbled unconvincingly around the post by Valdes, and from the resultant corner Ronaldo saw a header narrowly miss the goal.

The referee, Mr Muniz Fernandez‎, became the centre of attention after Ronaldo hurdled over Gerard Pique to which the referee waved play on despite the Portuguese’s protests.

David Villa then followed a pass into the penalty area and managed to toe the ball beyond the advancing Casillas before the Spanish stopper seemed to bring Villa down. Mr Muniz Fernandez remained unmoved, awarding the home side a goal kick to the amazement of the Barca players.

As the game began to settle once again Real Madrid shifted through the gears and created a terrific opening for Ronaldo, but the striker’s touch failed him allowing Adriano to make a crucial tackle.

The game came alive minutes before the half-time whistle when Messi became involved. The Argentine maestro darted in between the Madrid players before laying the ball into Pedro.

Messi had continued his run beyond the Real Madrid defence and when he was found the Ballon d’Or winner looked to unleash a venomous drive, but Casillas was equal to the shot, punching the ball away to safety.

Los Blancos in turn created their best chance of the half when Sergio Ramos nodded a corner back across to Ronaldo. The Portuguese international could only watch in frustration as his header was miraculously cleared of the line to ensure the sides ended the half level.

Centre of attention | Lionel Messi looks for a way through the Madrid defence

The second half began in the same manner of the first, with Ronaldo lining up a free kick. Ronaldo drove the ball over the wall but he looked on as it crashed against the base of the post before going behind.

Drama then ensued as Villa got on the right side of Raul Albiol, forcing the defender to man-handle Villa. Mr. Muniz Fernandez had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot, as he went to his top pocket to show Raul Albiol the red card.

Messi calmed himself as he stepped up before hammering the spot-kick past Casillas to score his first goal against a Jose Mourinho-managed team.

Xavi came close to doubling Barcelona’s lead soon after when his angled drive came agonisingly close to nestling in at the far post.

Real Madrid looked to force the game onto the Catalan club but Victor Valdes was left largely untroubled despite the introduction of Emmanuel Adebayor and Mesut Ozil.

Messi continued to grow into the game and the Argentine began to force Madrid’s defence to back-pedal as he attacked them at pace.

The Argentine moved the ball onto David Villa, who had found space in Madrid’s area but the striker continued his goalless streak as he could only side-foot his shot to a grateful Casillas.

Real Madrid were awarded a late penalty kick when Dani Alves was adjudged to have brought down Marcelo in the area giving Ronaldo the chance to end his own goal scoring drought against Barcelona.

Ronaldo stepped up unnerved to dispatch his penalty kick past Valdes to pull Real Madrid back level.

Barcelona came close in the late stages through Villa and Messi but neither man was able to restore Barca’s advantage, and they nearly found themselves behind when Emmanuel Adebayor played the ball back to Sami Khedira. The German set himself but could only direct his low drive straight at Victor Valdes.

Neither side were able to make the back through late on as the first of four Clasico matches ended in a draw, leaving the mouth watering for the remaining contests.

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