May 7 (UPI) — FC Barcelona and Real Madrid tied 2-2 in El Clasico, despite Barcelona playing with 10 men in the second half.
Sergi Roberto received a red card in stoppage time during the first half Sunday at Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain, meaning he was ineligible to complete the rivalry bout.
“It was a very intense Clasico and we all want to win, in a game of this kind there is always tension,” Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde told reporters.
Luis Suarez started the scoring in the 10th minute. Roberto dribbled the ball up the right flank to set up Suarez’s score. He crossed into the box and fired a pinpoint pass to Suarez at the far post. The ball dropped down to Suarez’s right foot and he drilled a volley past Madrid keeper Keylor Navas.
Cristiano Ronaldo tied the score four minutes later. The superstar forward heeled a ball back to Toni Kroos while inside the box. Kroos then crossed the ball to the other side of the box, finding Karim Benzema for a header. The flick went toward the net and found Ronaldo, who tapped it past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Ronaldo now has 450 career goals for Madrid.
Messi received a yellow card in the 45th minute for a poor slide into Sergio Ramos. That preceded Roberto’s red card. The defender was booked for a hitting Marcelo in the face. Messi put his squad ahead in the 52nd minute.
On that play, Messi received a pass from Suarez. He dove into the box and dribbled around several defenders, before using an inch of space to fire a shot with his left foot into the bottom left corner of the net. Suarez appeared to foul Raphael Varane on the play, but was not whistled for an infraction.
Madrid star Gareth Bale hit a magnificent strike, tying the game in the 72nd minute. Bale received a pass from Marco Asensio on that possession. He got a little bit of space from Jordi Alba and took advantage. The striker stepped up at the top of the box and curved a shot into the upper left corner of the goal.
Madrid faces Sevilla, Celta Vigo and Villarreal before battling Liverpool in the Champions League final at 2:45 p.m. on May 26 at Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex in Kiev, Ukraine.
“A Clasico is never just another match,” Ramos said, according to RealMadrid.com. “We knew what we were playing for. We wanted to win and Madrid had a very good game in general. This is the way to prepare for the final in Kiev.”
Barcelona has a test against Villarreal at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Camp Nou. The squad hasn’t lost in La Liga this season.