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Deportivo La Coruña
March 23, 2014
• Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco
• Attendance: 85454
K. Benzema 20', 24'
Cristiano Ronaldo 55'
L. Messi 42', 65', 84'
Full time in the Clasico! Barcelona claw themselves back into the title race with a sensational 4-3 away victory against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu. A Lionel Messi hat trick and a beauty of a strike from Andres Iniesta cancel out Benzema's brace and Ronaldo's goal to see Barca move just a point behind Los Blancos in the Spanish Primera Division. The main talking point of proceedings was certainly the red card to Sergio Ramos in the second half, but it looked like a good decision from the referee. The Clasico ends with neither side top of the table, as Atletico Madrid now lead the pack in the race for the championship. I'm Martin Macdonald, thanks for joining us, see you next time!
90' + 1'
Three minutes of injury time remaining in the Clasico! It's Barcelona's to lose, and you get the feeling they are going to play the ball around to waste time here.
Madrid have the opportunity to get the ball into the box with a free kick down the right-hand side, but the set-piece from Xabi Alonso is a but shallow and Barcelona manage to clear before counterattacking through Dani Alves on the right wing.
Yellow Card Luka Modric
Some real frustration creeping into the Real Madrid ranks now as Ronaldo goes into the book for a wayward arm in the face of Mascherano. The Barca defender doesn't need an invitation to make the most of it though.
Yellow Card C. Ronaldo
Ángel Di María
Yellow Card Xabi Alonso
Messi becomes the first player EVER to score a hat trick for Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu in the Clasico! He's re-writing the history books all on his own!
Penalty Goal Messi
GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLL FOR BARCELONA!!! Messi claims his hat trick by whipping a fantastic penalty into the top right corner! Unbelievable stuff at Santiago Bernabeu!
PENALTY TO BARCELONA!!! Iniesta looks to squeeze in between two challenges inside the box and ends up going down under the tackles of Xabi Alonso and Carvajal! Clear spotkick!
Mascherano looks to take the game by the scruff of the neck and tries his luck with an attempt from 30 yards. The Argentine hasn't scored in four years, and nothing changes here as his strike flies over the bar.
Real Madrid have been in such scintillating form recently that you get the feeling they wont drop much points between now and the end of the season, which makes a draw not a particularly good result for Barca. They have just over 10 minutes to claw themselves back into real contention for the title.
Second change of the match from Tata Martino as Fabregas, who has been slightly disappointing tonight, is replaced by Alexis Sanchez, who is in excellent goalscoring form at the moment. Many feel the Chilean and Pedro should have started the game, so now is their time to shine.
The Catalan side are really probing for the winning goal here! Fifteen minutes remaining for someone to step up and win the Clasico, and at the moment it looks like it's going to be a Barca player!
DANI ALVES HITS THE POST!! The Brazilian receives the ball to feet 25 yards out and unleashes a thunderous strike at goal but the attempt cannons off the bottom of the post! So, so unlucky!
You get the feeling that Los Blancos would accept the point here under the circumstances, and they have just retreated slightly deeper into their own half after the sending off. Expect a lot of Barcelona possession before the final whistle.
Madrid were looking extremely dangerous at 3-2 but that sending off and penalty goal from Messi have changed the complexion of this clash. With the man advantage, it's Barca who go into the last 20 minutes as favourites to claim all three points.
Tata Martino follows suite and makes a change of his own. Pedro comes on to replace Neymar moments after the Brazilian won the penalty kick for Barca's third.
Yellow Card Busquets
Carlo Ancelotti has been forced to make a tactical change after that sending off and it's Karim Benzema who is sacrificed, with Raphael Varane filling it at centre back.
Penalty Goal Messi
GOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL FOR BARCELONA!! Messi steps up and smashes his penalty into the right corner! Three-three! What a game!
I'm not sure how much contact there actually was between Sergio Ramos and Neymar there!
Red Card Sergio Ramos
PENALTY TO BARCELONA AND SERGIO RAMOS IS SENT OFF! Neymar gets in behind the Real Madrid defence but before he can pull the trigger he is pulled back by the captain of the hosts!
Some lovely link-up between Fabregas and Messi inside the centre circle before the former Arsenal man looks to thread the ball through to the oncoming Neymar, but the Brazilian can't find the pace to latch on to it.
Iniestaaaaaa! What an attempt that was! A corner kick is floated into the box but the Barcelona man meets the clearance before lashing a fantastic half volley at goal, but the strike goes just a yard or so north of the bar! Really unlucky!
Important save again from Valdes!! Benzema finds Bale with a clever backheel inside the box and the Welshman looks to lash the ball under the oncoming keeper, who ends up making the vital block! Two great saves within six minutes!
Ronaldo has now scored in his last eight matches, equaling his record streak set from October-December 2013. Not bad is it?!
That'll be a major talking point in the Catalan press in the morning! The tackle from Dani Alves looked to be about six inches outside of the area!
Penalty Goal C. Ronaldo
GOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL FOR REAL MADRID!!! Ronaldo dusts himself off and steps up to expertly convert the penalty into the bottom corner! Three-two!
PENALTY TO REAL MADRID!! Ronaldo drives into the box and his quick feet deceives Dani Alves, who ends up clipping his heels! It looked like the tackle was outside the box though!
GREAT SAVE FROM VALDES! Bale gallops through the middle before releasing Benzema with a pass into the box. The striker fires a shot at goal but the Barcelona keeper gets his body behind the ball to make the stop!
There's a small break in play at the moment as Neymar goes down clutching his foot after a collision with Di Maria. It looked like the Madrid man just accidentally stepped on his toe. A sore one, but the Barca man will be okay.
Di Maria collects the ball inside his own half and looks for the run of Benzema as the Frenchman attempts to get in behind Mascherano, but there is just too much on the pass and it eventually runs out for a Barcelona throw in.
The Brazilian does much better this time as he gets into the same position down the wing but whips a more dangerous cross into the centre, but Sergio Ramos is on hand to put the ball behind with a clearing header.
Dani Alves gets into an advanced position down the right and cuts a cross along the edge of the box, but unfortunately it evades everyone inside the box before reaching Neymar on the left.
The Clasico is back under way!
Half time in the Clasico! An incredibly entertaining first period ends as we go into the break at 2-2. Two goals from Karim Benzema and strikes from Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi leave the match delicately poised at the halfway mark. It's basically been attack versus attack so far, and it's making sensational viewing! You wouldn't want to think about missing the second half!
BENZEMAAAAA! IT SHOULD BE 3-2! The former Lyon striker rises high at the back post and bullets another header at goal, but this time he doesn't get his angles right and sends his attempts wide of the mark!
Lionel Messi is now the all-time top goalscorer in the Clasico! We're running out of superlatives for this guy!
Yellow Card Cesc Fàbregas
Yellow Card Pepe
Some drama after the goal as Fabregas and Pepe both go down clutching their faces. The referee ends up booking them both for playacting! Well done to the official; that was embarrassing for all concerned!
GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLL FOR BARCELONA!!! AN EQUALISER!!! Some pinball inside the box eventually sees Neymar lay the ball off for Messi, who somehow squeezes a shot through the crowd into the bottom right corner! Two-two!
Di Maria steals the ball away from Neymar inside the centre circle then goes down under the challenge of the Brazilian, who's penalised in his attempts to reclaim possession. The Madrid man has been unbelievable so far, he must be knackered!
The visitors get their first corner kick of the match and Xavi swings it in to the back post for Pique, but the Madrid defence remain solid and manage to clear out of the danger area.
Barca knock the ball around the edge of the box with a few passes before the ball comes to Dani Alves who attempts to clip a cross to the back post, but Sergio Ramos dashes out from his position to charge it down.
Los Blancos are just enjoying a small period of sustained possession at the moment with Xabi Alonso in particular just aiming to calm things down in the middle of the park.
The last time Real Madrid won at home after trailing 1-0 to Barca was in 1993. Will they end the 20-year wait tonight?!
Yellow Card Ángel Di María
That's a really poor challenge from Di Maria! The Argentine goes in extremely late on Neymar just outside the centre circle and ends up going into the book. He'll need to tread carefully for an hour!
Brilliant defending from Pique! Real Madrid counterattack at pace through Marcelo with a run through the middle and the ball eventually comes to Ronaldo. The Portuguese attempts to dance past the Barca defender, but a well-timed tackle sees Barcelona regain possession at the back!
Barca are just looking to get their wits about them again after going 2-1 down and some short passes in midfield looks to have increased their composure a little.
First real glimpse of Gareth Bale as the Welshman looks to take on Alba down the right hand-side, but a heavy touch puts the ball just out of reach and Barcelona get the goal kick. That'll certainly be a duel to look out for tonight!
The Barca players are demanding a penalty kick after the ball appears to come off the arm of Benzema in the Madrid wall! It would have been a harsh one, and the referee shares this view as he waves play on!
Barcelona get another set-piece chance to claw a goal back but once again it's about 30 yards out. Xavi and Messi standing over it, but who will step up?
This game is just going a mile-a-minute! It's been an absolutely incredible turnaround from Madrid, and they almost went 3-1 up with that chance for Benzema!
PIQUE CLEARS OFF THE LINE!! Benzema is inches away from claiming a hat-trick as he shifts the ball past Alba before curling a strike towards the corner, but the Barca defender is positioned perfectly to turn the ball away from goal! Such an important interception!
Barcelona look to bounce back after going a goal down with a free kick from 30 yards out. Messi clips the set-piece but it cannons off the wall and Madrid counterattack!
Assist Ángel Di María
Goal Karim Benzema
GOOOAAALLL! GOOOAAALL!! GOOOAAALL!!! Di Maria, who re-entered the play moments ago, gets his second assist of the match as he cross into the box for Benzema, who tees the ball up for himself before smashing a volley into the corner! What a goal! Two-one! Incredible!
Di Maria looks to be okay and gets back onto the pitch after receiving treatment.
Some really worrying scenes for Real Madrid as Di Maria is currently down at the corner flag after going down innocuously. It doesn't look like an actual injury, but an illness. He's looking pretty pale!
Assist Ángel Di María
Goal Karim Benzema
GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL FOR REAL MADRID!! A LOS BLANCOS EQUALISER!! Di Maria curls a lovely cross to the front post and Benzema is on hand to bullet a header into the far corner! Valdes got a hand to it, but the attempt was too powerful! One-one!
Great block by Marcelo! Neymar latches on to a pass from Messi and drives towards goal before releasing a rather weak shot on goal, but his compatriot retreats well to stop the path to goal with a slide tackle!
A worrying fact for Real Madrid is that Barcelona have never lost a match in which Iniesta has scored. Los Blancos will be looking to put an end to that trend tonight!
I think Di Maria must have had a few energy drinks before proceedings tonight! He's been absolutely everywhere chasing down the ball and harrying the Barca players!
Messi has given his 12th assist in a Clasico and continues to improve his all-time record (both teams) of most Clasico assists.
MISS FROM MESSI!!! The Argentine breaks the Madrid offside trap and runs through on goal but, with plenty of time to pick his spot, drags a left-footed attempt wide! He usually gobbles up chances like that!
There's a tense mood in the air, but that hasn't stopped the high tempo of the play on the pitch. It has been end-to-end stuff so far! Extremely entertaining!
BENZEMAAAAA! WHAT A MISS!!! Di Maria goes on a sensational run down the left and hits the byline before teeing the ball up for his team-mate, who balloons a strike over the bar form 10 yards! What an opportunity!
Benzema tests the gloves of Valdes! Bale stretches his legs with a penetrating run through the middle and leaves a few Barca players in his wake before shifting the ball left to the Frenchman, but the eventual shot on goal is easily dealt with by the keeper.
Di Maria looks to burst pass Dani Alves down the left-hand side but stops abruptly looking for a free kick from the ref. He doesn't get it though and Barcelona look to break out from the back. The crowd didn't appreciate that too much!
Well, that goal certainly wasn't in the script for Real Madrid! A lot of people have been writing Barcelona off tonight due to their recent form, but recent results are never an accurate way of predicting a Clasico performance!
Neymar looks to latch on to a loose ball through the middle but any potential attack is thwarted by Pepe, who flexes his muscles to usher the Barcelona man off the ball. Really good defending.
GOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLL FOR BARCELONA!!! THE VISITORS OPEN THE SCORING!! Messi slides a pass through to Iniesta who takes an assured touch before smashing a left-footed strike into the top corner! One-nil Barca!
The Santiago Bernabeu crowd get out of their seats in expectancy as Ronaldo goes down in the box after a challenge from Dani Alves. It was a soft tackle by the Brazilian though, and the referee rightfully waves play on.
BENZEMA! First chance of the match for the hosts! The striker finds a pocket of space inside the box and attempts to find the bottom corner with a shot, but the strike is dragged wide and doesn't pose too much of a threat to Victor Valdes.
Neymaaaaar! First save of the night from Diego Lopez! The Brazilian breaks down the right after a pass from Messi and lashes a strike towards the front post, but the Madrid keeper gets his body behind the ball to make the comfortable block.
Los Cules will naturally expect to see the most of the ball in any match, even the Clasico. But the speed of Ronaldo, Bale, and Benzema makes Real Madrid impossibly dangerous on the counterattack.
Barcelona are enjoying the possession in the opening stages, and the Madrid fans are vibrating the Santiago Bernabeu with a chorus of boos!
We are under way in the Spanish capital! Hold on to your hats!
The players make their way onto the pitch to an unbelievable atmosphere inside Santiago Bernabeu!
The former Manchester United man has scored in seven of his last 10 Clasicos (nine goals in total).
You can't talk Clasico without mentioning Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The two best players in the world square off on the pitch for the first time since the Portuguese clawed back the Ballon d'Or from his rival earlier in the season. What will the latest entry be in the Ronaldo versus Messi saga?
Barcelona have only lost one of 7 games in all competitions against sides managed by Carlo Ancelotti.
Recent defeats against Real Sociedad, Valencia, and Real Valladolid have heaped the pressure on Barca coach, Martino, so how damaging will a Clasico loss be to the Argentine's tenure at the helm of the Catalan outfit?
Madrid have been boosted by the return of Karim Benzema to the first XI after the Frenchman missed the midweek game against Schalke after a collision with Ronaldo in the win over Malaga.
Interestingly, we go into the match tonight with neither Clasico side top of the Spanish Primera Division. Atletico Madrid's 2-0 win over Betis earlier on tonight means that they are now at the summit of La Liga. Definitely a three-horse race this year!
However, since the loss against their arch rivals, Real Madrid have gone on a sensational 31-game unbeaten run in all competitions, and are now four points clear of Tata Martino's outfit.
The previous Clasico saw Los Cules run out 2-1 winners at Camp Nou earlier in the season, with Neymar and Alexis Sanchez both getting on the scoresheet to seal the win.
Real Madrid head coach, Ancelotti, sticks with the first XI that his served him so well in recent weeks, with the attacking 4-3-3 formation selected a far cry from his outlook in the previous Clasico, in which defender Sergio Ramos featured in midfield.
At the moment it looks like Andres Iniesta may be deployed down the left-hand side of the Barca attack, but there's definite scope to swap positions with Fabregas in midfield. Neymar is also selected ahead of the in-form duo, Pedro and Alexis Sanchez.
So it's full strength selections from Carlo Ancelotti and Tata Martino for the Clasico! Quite an array of talent on show for us tonight!
Barcelona (4-3-3):Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas; Neymar, Messi, Iniesta.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Diego Lopez; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Xabi Alonso, Modric, Di Maria; Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema.
I'm Martin Macdonald, and it's my pleasure to take you through the action!
That's right, it's that time of the season again; Real Madrid versus Barcelona, and it comes to us tonight from Santiago Bernabeu!
Good evening football fans! Welcome to LIVE coverage of...the Clasico!
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