Record Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi showed his superiority on Sunday as Barcelona defeated their arch rivals Real Madrid in the El classico.
Messi scored his 500th goal for the Spanish side as they dealt the Zinedine Zidane led side a blow to their La Liga title hopes.
Real were ahead in the first half as Casemiro opened scoring. Messi cancelled out the effort to level proceedings. Ivan Rakitic pushed Barca to the edge of victory then the Argentine superstar earned Real defender and skipper Sergio Ramos marching orders.
Zidane sent Columbia international James Rodriguez from the bench and he repaid the faith by equalizing with four minutes left. Then Messi struck. He scored from the last kick of the game to set Barcelona on the path of a third straight La Liga title.
Madrid were the favourites ahead of the game as their confidence overflowed. They only just defeated German champions Bayern Munich in the Champions League. They started the game at the Bernabeu very well but gradually lost control.
Samuel Umtiti clashed with Cristiano Ronaldo but despite the appeals for a spot kick, the referee waved it aside. Luis Suarez had the first attempt for the guests but the Uruguayan sent it wide. Ronaldo had his chance but Marc-Andre terStegen had a hand. Both sides were at it until Casemiro broke the deadlock as he tapped in from a Marcelo cross.
Messi ended his three-year El Classico drought as he equalized after getting past DaniCarvajal and Nacho. TerStegen denied Luka Modric from scoring his long range effort. Referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez seemed to pacify the hosts as he refused to book Casemiro who clipped Messi Cesc Fabregas Fanas he was on a yellow card. After the break, Madrid searched for a goal but TerStegen denied them. KeylorNavas was also busy as Barca threatened.
When the scoreline was 2-2, the game seemed one that would end in a stalemate until Sergio Roberto’s run and Jordi Alba cross ended with Messi smashing into the corner.