10-man Barca hold Real to move a step closer to unbeaten season
Gareth Bale’s equaliser earned the visitors a point.
Barcelona survived the sending-off of Sergi Roberto to maintain their quest to finish the LaLiga season unbeaten after a 2-2 draw with Real Madrid at the Nou Camp.
The midfielder was dismissed following an off-the-ball altercation with Marcelo on the stroke of half-time, but the hosts survived a late assault to take a point.
Barcelona led twice through Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi only for Real, who have one eye on the Champions League final against Liverpool later this month, to level through Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
Real boss Zinedine Zidane will be more concerned over Ronaldo, whom he withdrew at the interval with the Portuguese star having apparently sustained a knock.
With Barca’s title already assured and Real’s minds elsewhere, there was a strangely muted atmosphere at the Nou Camp for a game only really notable for it being the final ‘El Classico’ for Barcelona great Andres Iniesta.
Suarez saw an early effort blocked in the box, but the Uruguayan struck in the 10th minute when he met a Sergi Roberto cross with a delicious volley at the far post to put his side in front.
Five minutes later Real were level, Karim Benzema meeting a Toni Kroos cross with a header down in the box for Ronaldo to sweep home the equaliser from close-range.
Both sides had their chances to go in front with Jordi Alba and Ronaldo both heading over the bar, then Luca Modric threaded a brilliant through-ball to Ronaldo who was only denied by a superb save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Real keeper Keylor Navas saved superbly from Messi before Barca’s hopes were hit in first-half injury time when Sergi Roberto and Marcelo appeared to clash off the ball, and the home player was issued a straight red card.
Barca made light of their one-man disadvantage as they restored their lead in the 54th minute, Messi finishing off a swift counter-attack with a curling shot past Navas.
But Real hit back in style with Bale, who had been a virtual passenger up to that point, eased into a scoring position by a Marco Asensio through-ball, and capitalising by striking a superb effort beyond the reach of Ter Stegen.
Real dominated the later stages of the game as they sought to end their opponents’ proud record this season, but the hosts held firm.