Lionel Messi silences Santiago Bernabeu with injury time winner in El Clasico

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Lionel Messi’s injury-time winner kept Barcelona in hunt for La Liga following the Argentina international’s winning goal with the very last touch of the game, which sends his side to the top of the standings, albeit with Madrid having a game in hand.But here, with a performance of grit, determination and supreme skill in the home of their greatest foe, the Catalan side looked very much alive, as they insisted that their grip on the La Liga title is not going to slip without a scrap. A corker from Ivan Rakitic and two astonishing goals from the ever-astonishing Lionel Messi gave them a victory which put them level at the top of the division. Not bad for the walking dead.

The most entertaining Clasico in recent seasons was packed with incidents and talking points; the first half flew by as Casemiro put Madrid in front and Messi equalised for the visitors. The second period was just as dramatic, as Ivan Rakitic fired Barca 2-1 ahead and Sergio Ramos was sent off (again) for hacking down Messi before substitute James Rodriguez appeared from nowhere to make it 2-2.

Madrid had the better of the opening stages, with Cristiano Ronaldo having a convincing penalty appeal turned down by referee Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez inside three minutes, and they deservedly took the lead on 28 minutes. Barca’s defending was poor as first, Marc-Andre ter Stegen punched a corner straight to Marcelo and then nobody picked up either Ramos, who turned the cross against a post, or Casemiro, who was free 3 yards out to tap the rebound into an empty net.

Messi, however, showed nothing could be taken for granted. As ever in the right place at the right time, the genius in the striped shirt swept home Jordi Alba’s pass to score the winner with the game’s last kick. It was a goal which Luis Enrique, the visiting manager, said put his side right back in the title race.

Match details

Real Madrid (4-3-3): Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo; Casemiro (Kovacic 70), Modric, Kroos; Bale (Asensio 39), Benzema (Rodriguez 82), Ronaldo.
Subs: Casilla (g), Isco, Danilo, Morata.
Booked: Casemiro, Kovacic, Carvajal.
Sent off: Ramos.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Umtiti, Pique, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta; Messi, L Suarez, Alcacer (Andre Gomes 70).
Subs: Cillessen (g), D Suarez, Digne, Turan, Mascherano, Alena.
Booked: Umtiti, Messi.
Referee: A J Hernández Hernández.

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