Pulsating El Clasico ends all square in game of the week

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Our La Liga Game of the Week saw a memorable El Classico encounter between Barcelona and Real Madrid that ended in a ferociously fought 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou.

Luis Suarez put the home side ahead after 10 minutes when he ghosted in at the far post before connecting excellently with Sergi Roberto’s cross to hit his 24th goal of the season as he worked his way to 111 points across the campaign.

However, the lead was short lived as Cristiano Ronaldo hit back just four minutes later – poaching excellently from two yards out as he rounded off some exquisite interlinking play.

The goal was his 25th of the campaign, a stat made all the more impressive by his slow start to 2017/18.

Sergi Roberto saw red just before half time to put the home site under the cosh, having been given his marching orders following a punch aimed at Marcelo in what was a fractious encounter on occasions.

However, Barcelona were handed a small crumb of comfort by Cristiano Ronaldo’s withdrawal at half time – the result of an ankle injury sustained before the break.

The Portuguese striker has been at the forefront of Madrid’s resurgent second half to the season, having amassed 111 points, and Zidane will be desperately hoping he can recover his rhythm ahead of the Champions League final.

To make matters worse for Madrid, they soon found themselves a goal down to their hosts despite their man advantage.

Just seven minutes after the break, Lionel Messi tucked his 33rd goal of the season inside Kaylor Navas’s near post after some tenacious work from Suarez saw them regain possession in a dangerous area.

Messi then had a good opportunity to double his side’s lead on the break but was thwarted by a strong save from Navas, who has kept just six clean sheets across a disappointing campaign.

Messi was made to rue the missed opportunity not long after when Gareth Bale swept home from outside the edge of the box to pull Los Blancos level in the tie.

The goal was the Welshman’s 13th in 18, a respectable haul for a man whose season has been disrupted by injury.

In spite of their man advantage, Madrid were unable to turn the tie around into a victory as the fixture ended all square in a thoroughly entertaining fixture that lived up to the billing.

Madrid now travel to Sevilla, but may opt to rest players with an eye firmly on their Champions League final meeting with Liverpool.

Barcelona meanwhile, face a journey to Villarreal as they continue their pursuit of ending their campaign without a single defeat.

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