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October 7, 2012
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: Carlos Delgado Ferreiro
• Attendance: 95000
L. Messi 31', 61'
Cristiano Ronaldo 23', 66'
Shots on Target
That's all from me tonight guys, thanks for joining me for what was a thoroughly entertaining clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou. Good night everyone!
Messi, not to be outdone by his Madrid rival, also bagged two goals, which takes him within one of the all-time leading Clasico goalscorer Alfredo Di Stefano, who currently sits in first place with 18. Messi's second this evening was a joy to behold, a sweetly-struck free kick that curled past the despairing dive of Iker Casillas and into the top right corner in the second half.
Ronaldo became the first player ever to score in six consecutive Clasicos tonight when he notched in the first half, before he added a well-taken second goal after the break.
FULL-TIME: BARCELONA 2-2 REAL MADRID The shares were spoiled in an entertaining Clasico encounter at Camp Nou this evening as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both scored twice. The gap between the two remains eight points, with Madrid moving up to fifth following the match, as Barcelona remain unbeaten in first.
90' + 3'
Iniesta threads a sumptuous ball to Pedro on the right, but the Barcelona forward fires his effort off target, curling a shot inches wide of Casillas' right-hand post from the right side of the Madrid penalty area.
90' + 3'
Pedro has a shot at goal but it is deflected behind by his own player Alexis Sanchez, resulting in a Real Madrid goal-kick. The clock ticks onwards...
90' + 2'
Barca are probing away at the Madrid back line and are finishing this match strongly as they go in search of a winner in the dying moments.
90' + 1'
Xavi's late free kick is deflected behind for another corner to the home side, as the game heads towards its conclusion.
Yellow Card Arbeloa
MONTOYA COMES CLOSE!! The Barcelona right-back nearly gives his side the lead with a well-struck effort from 18 yards but Casillas is equal to it.
Barcelona work the ball in the corner, but lose it to Higuain who tries to set Ronaldo free but is stopped by Montoya. Alonso shows neat feet to evade the challenge of Messi before firing a long pass towards Ronaldo but Alba wins the ball for Barcelona with a fine piece of control and clears it upfield.
Ángel Di María
Alonso, already on a yellow card, catches Sanchez in the centre circle and Barcelona have a free kick.
Mourinho is having words with Michael Essien on the touchline as he considers making a third change, but despite the fourth official holding up Essien's number he is yet to come on as his coach tells him to continue warming up.
Barcelona counter through Messi and Pedro after Higuain's cross is swept away by Montoya, but the former's pass to the latter is too heavy, and Madrid are able to collect the ball and slow the play down.
Cristiano Ronaldo continues to wince in pain each time the camera pans to him. He seemed to damage his shoulder when attempting a bicycle kick earlier in the half, and that seems to be continuing to bother him.
Alonso hooks the free kick towards Higuain at the back post, but the Argentine forward makes poor contact with the ball, ushering it out of play when he really should have been testing Victor Valdes.
Barcelona waste the corner though, and Madrid immediately counter down the left through Ronaldo. He does brilliantly to win a free kick on the left of the penalty area after being blocked off by Mascherano.
Pepe heads the ball behind for a corner kick to Barcelona under pressure from Messi, the home side have another chance to work Madrid from a set piece, which as we have seen already this season, they do not like!
Madrid make another substitute here at Camp Nou, Mourinho choosing to bring on Kaka for Mesut Ozil. You've got to feel for Luka Modric there, he's been in good form going into this match, and will probably have expected to play some part in the game.
Alba is flagged offside on the near side as Xavi looks to slide a pass between Arbeloa and Ramos into his path as he races forward. That was a very close decision from the linesman.
Yellow Card Pepe
Pepe catches Messi, and Barcelona have another free kick. Xavi tries to work it through to Iniesta inside the Madrid box but Arbeloa steps across and steals the ball and works it back upfield for his side.
Barcelona are keeping the ball better than Madrid at the moment, with the away side struggling to match their opponents passing and movement both on and off the ball. They continue to look dangerous on the counter attack though, as always.
The Argentine's effort curls just over the bar on this occasion though, and the score remains level!
Barcelona have another free kick in a promising position outside the Madrid box, and there's no surprise as to who fancies taking it. Messi stands over the ball.
Some neat play from Messi and Iniesta almost creates a third for the home side but Ramos manages to get his body in the way inside his own penalty area to end the attack.
Iniesta slips the ball out to Alba on the left, who then plays it back inside to Xavi 40 yards from goal. The metronomic midfielder switches play to the substitute Sanchez over on the right, but he loses possession under pressure from Marcelo.
Messi comes within inches of flicking Alba's cross-cum-shot goalwards after the Spanish full-back darted down the left and hammered the ball across Casillas' goal.
So the score now, Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid, Lionel Messi 2-2 Cristiano Ronaldo. You hate to say these matches are just a duel between those two but they are certainly doing their best to make it seem that way tonight!
Moments before Ronaldo scored that, a replay was shown of his face as Messi's free kick found the back of the net, he looked absolutely furious, but he's shot back now with his second goal of the evening.
Assist Mesut Özil
Goal C. Ronaldo
RONALDO SCORES!!! REAL MADRID DRAW LEVEL!! The Madrid forward springs the offside trap to latch on to Ozil's delicious through-ball before slotting the ball casually past Valdes and into the back of the net. One more tonight and he will have three consecutive hat-tricks!
The Germany international floats the set piece towards Ronaldo 15 yards out, but his attempted bicycle-kick is mistimed, and the ball goes out for a throw to Barcelona.
Ozil exchanges passes with Marcelo on the left for Madrid, and then wins a corner after his cross is headed behind by Montoya.
A fabulous challenge from Sergio Ramos on Pedro stops Barcelona breaking again, but play is stopped seconds later as the Madrid substitute Gonzalo Higuain ploughs through the back of Busquets on the halfway line.
GOALLL!!!!! WHAT A STRIKE FROM LIONEL MESSI!! Barcelona's talisman whips an inch perfect free kick straight into the top right corner with his left foot, that Casillas is nowhere near stopping. That is straight from the top drawer from Barca's No.10. They lead this match now, 2-1.
The former Liverpool man should go for that!! He's clearly caught Messi as the Argentine looked to burst into the Madrid box, AND he was already on a yellow!
ALONSO CATCHES MESSI!! The Madrid midfielder is on a yellow card. What is the ref going to do here??
Yellow Card Mesut Özil
Both sides lose possession inside Victor Valdes' penalty area in the space of a few seconds, as Benzema misplaces a pass to Ronaldo, before Adriano hits a clearance straight into a Madrid player. Not the most beautiful passage of play there...
The home side show their patience on the edge of the Madrid penalty area, patiently moving the ball around before flicking it out to Fabregas out wide who then drives a low cross across the six yard box that none of his team-mates can connect with and divert towards goal.
Unsurprisingly Ronaldo takes the free kick himself, but fails to hit the target, as his firm strike meets Pepe's midriff in the wall as the Madrid defender tried to create a diversion for his team-mate.
Yellow Card Busquets
Busquets goes through the back of Ronaldo as the Madrid attacker races forward with the ball, and the visitors have yet another free kick in a dangerous position, this one 35 yards out, just left of centre.
SURELY THAT'S A PENALTY?! Iniesta ghosts into the Madrid box on the left and after pushing the ball past Pepe is brought crashing to the deck by a late challenge from the Portugal international. The whole Barcelona team appeal to the referee, but he sees nothing in it, and tells them to get on with the game. That certainly looked like a penalty from where I'm sitting!
Xavi picks out Alba with a marvellous pass from midfield but the full-back fails to find a team-mate with his first-time pass, and Madrid bring the ball out from the back.
Should Madrid win, it will be the first time since 1964-65 that they have won back-to-back league games at Camp Nou.
If Barcelona go on to win this match it will be their best start ever in a Liga campaign, with them winning their six previous matches this season.
Ozil goes down after being caught by Busquets midway inside the Barcelona half, but Alonso again wastes the set piece, much to his team-mates' disapproval.
Messi picks up the ball straight from that Madrid move and goes flying down the right-hand side for Barcelona. The diminutive forward jinxes past three challenges on his way into the Madrid penalty area before firing a cross towards Pedro at the back post. Pepe manages to slide in superbly and nip the ball off Pedro's foot though, and Madrid can then clear the ball away.
Ronaldo tries to play the ball into Ozil but the Germany international is impeded on his way into the Barca box, despite the referee waving play on.
Off we go here at Camp Nou, as Barcelona get the second half underway...
Some of you that have got in touch with me during the break, including @Vichu_Rex, to tell me that you think Kaka should be introduced at half-time by Jose Mourinho. Mesut Ozil was certainly quiet in the opening 45 minutes, and I think it would come as little surprise if he was replaced by either Kaka or Luka Modric if not at the break, then shortly after. The Germany international has looked out of sorts this season for Madrid, with tonight being no exception.
There's been some suspect defending from both sides so far tonight. Victor Valdes could and perhaps should have done better for Ronaldo's goal, although the Portuguese attacker did strike the ball well, while Pepe's inability to clear the ball seconds before Messi pounced cost his side dearly. What have you all thought of the first half? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter, @charliefscott.
HALF-TIME: BARCELONA 1-1 REAL MADRID. It's all square here at Camp Nou, despite Real Madrid dominating. Jose Mourinho's side took the lead through Cristiano Ronaldo (of course), when he slammed the ball past Valdes from the left side of the penalty area, before Lionel Messi equalised from close-range following a horrible misjudgement from Pepe inside the Real Madrid box. The away side have been far the better side, but it is 1-1 with everything still to play for.
45' + 2'
And there is the referee's whistle to mark the end of the first half here at Camp Nou.
45' + 1'
The attack breaks down though, as Alonso's pass to Ronaldo floats over his head and goes out for a Barcelona throw-in.
Barcelona have a free kick in a dangerous position after Ozil charges through the back of Messi 30 yards from goal. The home side waste the set piece opportunity though, and Madrid look to counter attack down the left through Ronaldo.
Alba is losing his head at the moment, first he barged into Arbeloa in an attacking position on the left, and he has since thrown himself into a couple of challenges and not got anywhere near the ball. He needs to be careful!
Yellow Card Xabi Alonso
The home side are being whistled by their own fans as we head towards half-time. They have been disappointing in this first half, and Los Cules are letting them know it.
Pedro goes into the book after a high foot in a collision with Sergio Ramos. The Barca attacker was slightly unfortunate there, I don't think there was much he could do to avoid that.
Yellow Card Pedro
Messi has also now scored 16 goals in Clasico matches, which takes him just two behind the leading all-time Clasico scorer Alfredo Di Stefano, who has 18.
A clear push from Alba on Arbeloa hands Madrid possession in their own half, and draws the attention of the referee, who looks for a second like he might show the Spain international a yellow card, but in the end decides against doing so.
HERE'S A LOVELY STAT!! Lionel Messi has now scored 99 Liga goals for Barcelona at Camp Nou, with five of those coming against this evening's opponents, Real Madrid.
Messi is chasing the ball all over the pitch at the moment, as he looks to drag his side into this game. They are fortunate to be level as we head towards the break, Madrid have been well on top, but Messi's goal a few moments ago keeps them right in it.
Xabi Alonso tries to curl the set piece to the back post, where Ramos and Pepe are lurking, but the cross is poor and fails to beat the first man, allowing Barcelona to clear the ball to safety.
Montoya flies into a challenge on Ronaldo with both feet raised, and although the young full-back wins the ball, the referee awards the visitors a free kick.
There were hints of offside in the build-up to that Messi goal, with Pedro looking to have received the ball on the right in an offside position. I'm sure Jose Mourinho will have something to say about that after the game.
GOALLL!! MESSI EQUALISES FOR BARCELONA!! The Argentine blasts the ball home from close-range after Pepe failed to clear the ball as it bounced up in the air following a cross from the right from Pedro. Simple stuff from Messi. It's all square here, despite Madrid dominating.
He curls it towards Busquets on the penalty spot but the cross is met by a firm header from Sergio Ramos. Madrid look solid here at Camp Nou, Barcelona are struggling to break through them and create chances.
Barcelona have a corner on the right. Xavi is set to take the set piece...
Barcelona with a back four now, as Montoya replaces Alves. So from right to left: Montoya, Mascherano, Adriano, Alba.
Alves looks to be in trouble here, and Martin Montoya is warming up and is set to replace the Brazilian full-back.
That Ronaldo goal is his sixth successive strike in Clasico matches, an unprecedented achievement. Take a bow, Cristiano, you're a record breaker.
DI MARIA COULD MAKE IT 2-0!! The Argentine attacker shoots wide after Benzema had hit the post from inside the box after Ozil had bombed down the right-hand side and pulled a pass back to him.
Assist Karim Benzema
Goal C. Ronaldo
GOALLL!!!! CRISTIANO RONALDO SCORES!!! Karim Benzema slips a pass through to Ronaldo on the left-hand side of the penalty area, and he smashes the ball past Valdes at his near post with his left foot to give Madrid the lead. Advantage to the away side.
Madrid are committing men forward with far greater gusto than they have done in recent Clasicos, Pepe in particular is roaming forward from centre-back whenever he can as the away side look to profit from a slow start from Barcelona.
Fabregas has started the match well for Barcelona, and he fashions another chance for his team, dancing into the box and pulling the ball back to the on-rushing Andres Iniesta, who fails to connect cleanly with the pass and it is dealt with by Casillas.
RAMOS SHOULD SCORE!! Ozil clips the ball into the box and the Spain international wastes a glorious opportunity to open the scoring for the away side.
Keep an eye on Cristiano Ronaldo guys, should he score tonight, he will set a record for scoring in six consecutive Clasico matches.
Barcelona go all the way back to Valdes as the are pressed high up the pitch by Madrid's attackers. Their makeshift defence is standing firm at the moment, but they are not enjoying the intensity of Ronaldo, Benzema and Di Maria.
Pepe has gone down inside his own half under a challenge from Fabregas and the referee has awarded the away side a free kick.
Cesc Fabregas cuts into the Madrid box on the left-hand side and looks to slide a pass through to Messi on the six-yard box but Pepe hoofs the ball away and averts the danger for the time being.
Pepe brings the ball out of defence for Madrid brilliantly before shifting the ball out to Di Maria on the right. The Portugal international continued his run forward and was screaming for the return pass from Di Maria but his pass strayed out of play. Madrid are committing men forward which is nice to see, and promises an exciting game!
Madrid are trying to play Ronaldo in more and more in these opening exchanges, and a fine Ozil pass nearly does just that, only for Mascherano to step in and clear the ball away. Good positioning there from the Barcelona defender.
Ozil crumples to the turf following a challenge from Dani Alves, and looks up imploringly at the referee Carlos Delgado Ferreiro for a free kick but the official dismisses the Germany international's request and tells him to get to his feet.
Mesut Ozil and Marcelo combine well on the left, with the latter lifting an enticing ball over the Barcelona defence towards Ronaldo, but the Madrid man cannot get there ahead of Valdes, the goalkeeper rushing off his line to grab the ball.
Angel Di Maria sends a hopeful effort at goal for Madrid from long-range on the right-hand side but his shot is a long way from troubling Victor Valdes in the Barcelona goal, and flies out for a goal-kick.
Adriano's inclusion tonight means Barcelona have had a different centre-back pairing for each of their seven Liga matches so far this season. For a team that loves stats, that is not a good one...
Dani Alves catches Ronaldo, and Madrid have an early free kick in the centre circle. The atmosphere is electric at Camp Nou, with the crowd making one hell of a noise out there.
We weren't sure before kick-off about where Adriano would be playing for Barcelona tonight, but it looks like he is playing at centre-back alongside Mascherano tonight. That's a short centre-back pairing! It will be interesting to see how they deal with the intimidating figures of Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.
Some sharp interplay from Xavi, Cesc Fabregas and Lionel Messi right on the edge of the Madrid box nearly results in a goalscoring chance for the Catalan side but Pepe stands firm and nicks the ball off Xavi as he tries to ghost into the box.
Xabi Alonso looks to play Angel Di Maria in on the right-hand side with an early through-ball, but Javier Mascherano reads the danger and picks up the ball for the home side.
The first passage of play is ended by Cristiano Ronaldo, as he heads the ball behind for a Barcelona goal-kick under pressure from Dani Alves.
Strap yourselves in ladies and gentleman, we are off and running here at Camp Nou...
I don't know about you guys, but I'm getting goosebumps... That's what El Clasico does to me. It's hard not to love it.
Out come the teams ahead of kick-off, Los Cules giving their team a rousing reception as they make their way out on to the pitch at Camp Nou.
Don't forget guys, as always you can get in touch with your views on the match as it unfolds by sending your thoughts to either @charliefscott or @goal_intl. We would love to hear from you!
According to the people that matter, Goal.com's valued readers, Real Madrid are favourites tonight, with 5,071 votes (51.6 per cent) being cast in favour of Los Blancos in our poll that has been running this week, with 4,193 votes predicting a Barcelona win. We shall see if those 51.6 per cent of you that backed Madrid are right!
Patrick Kluivert is the latest figure to come out and claim that even if Barcelona win tonight, the Liga race will not be over. I'm not so sure to be honest. Should Barcelona secure all three points they would move 11 points clear of Madrid, with just seven matches played. A win for Mourinho's side cuts the deficit to five, while a draw would sustain the current eight-point gap. Those are big, big numbers at such an early stage in the season!
REAL MADRID TEAM NEWS: The debate surrounding who would start out of Mesut Ozil, Luka Modric and Kaka in attacking midfield has been resolved, with Los Blancos' Portuguese trainer opting to play Ozil alongside Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo in an attacking three supporting lone striker Karim Benzema. Marcelo continues at left-back for the away side, while Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira start in defensive midfield in Mourinho's favoured 4-2-3-1 formation.
BARCA TEAM NEWS: The big surprise for the home side is that Adriano starts in defence ahead of Alex Song, after Gerard Pique failed to prove his fitness to boss Tito Vilanova ahead of the game. Elsewhere the Catalan giants line up as expected, with Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Busquets and Xavi completing a midfield three and Andres Iniesta and Pedro operating either side of Lionel Messi up front.
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Khedira, Alonso; Ozil, Cristiano, Di Maria; Benzema
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Adriano, Mascherano, Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas; Iniesta, Messi, Pedro
Without further ado, let's get stuck into some team news! I've got both side's starting XIs coming right up...
All eyes are on the Camp Nou tonight with media representatives from 139 media outlets from 28 different countries attending the match, AND there being an expected global audience of around 400 million watching the game live on television.
The two teams have already met twice this campaign, in the Supercopa, with Mourinho's men emerging victorious courtesy of away goals despite both sides winning their separate home matches.
My name is Charlie Scott, and I will be bringing you LIVE updates on the match at Camp Nou, as Barcelona host Real Madrid in the first Liga Clasico of the season.
It's the big one tonight, El Clasico, Barcelona against Real Madrid, Tito Vilanova versus Jose Mourinho, the eye-gouged against the eye-gouger. It doesn't get much better than this ladies and gentlemen, and I'm honoured to be sharing this match with you.
"When Madrid plays Barcelona, the world stops," the Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said earlier this month. Well, I'm delighted to inform you that Goal.com doesn't stop, oh no, not even for Mr. Mourinho.
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