Late Ramos header sees El Clasico end even

FC Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid

A late Sergio Ramos header stole a point for Real Madrid in Saturday’s El Clasico as they drew 1-1 with Barcelona at the Camp Nou.

The visitors shaded the goalless opening half as Luis Enrique’s men failed to find their groove, but they made the breakthrough in the 53rd minute when Luis Suarez headed home from a Neymar free-kick.

Barca had a number of chances to add more to their tally throughout the second half, but were punished on the stroke of full time, as Ramos met a Luka Modric free-kick to see the points shared in the clash of the La Liga titans.

The draw sees Barcelona remain six points behind Real at the top of the table, but they will rue failing to see out a much-needed victory.

Lionel Messi takes on Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo.
Lionel Messi takes on Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo.

It was a rather cagey opening at the Camp Nou and the Catalan club had few chances in the opening 45 minutes.

Neymar raced forward 11 minutes in and, despite a slip in the box, managed to find Sergio Roberto at the back post. He took on the shot in a packed area, but it hit the chest of Ramos and went wide. The hosts waved for a penalty, claims dismissed by referee Clos Gomez.

Real began to find their attacking edge just after the 20 minute mark, and it was Lucas Vasquez who was causing trouble down the left flank, but Javier Mascherano was there twice to blocked his crosses in quick succession – the second seeing him get away without conceding a penalty after a tug on the shirt of Cristiano Ronaldo.

The slippery surface at the Camp Nou continued to play a part as Ronaldo tried to go for the overhead kick but ended up on the floor, with Karim Benzema also going down as he tried to latch onto the loose ball with Roberto clearing the danger. It only fell as far as Marcelo but his effort flew past the post.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen was called into action twice in quick succession to deny Ronaldo. The first came in the 37th minute as Real put together a fantastic counter-attack, but the forward was denied at a tight angle, before latching onto a Vasquez pass two minutes later only to see his shot saved by the Barca keeper.

Real could twice have taken a late lead in the final minute of the half as Gerard Pique just poked a Benzema cross past his own post, before Ter Stegen was again called into action to save from Raphael Varane header.

But Barcelona were the ones to make the breakthrough eight minutes after the restart to send the Camp Nou into raptures. Neymar delivered a free-kick – which he had won near the touchline- and found the head of Suarez in the middle of the box, the Uruguayan getting ahead of Varane.

Luis Suarez celebrates scoring the opener.
Luis Suarez celebrates scoring the opener.

The hosts continued to have a number of chances to add to their tally in the second half, with Neymar collecting a pass from substitute Andres Iniesta – the driving force for Barcelona in the final half-hour – just before the 70 minute mark, rounding Carvajal, but firing over the crossbar.

Just seconds later, Iniesta took matters into his own hands but his effort only found the side netting, before Messi and Neymar linked up on the left-hand side in a rare moment during the game, the Brazilian seeing his crossed blocked by Varane.

The Argentine also missed a golden chance in the 82nd minute and should have made it two. He collected a sublime pass from Iniesta in the middle of the box with Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas and the goal at his mercy, but he fired wide of the upright.

With time ticking down, Real ramped up the pressure to take something from the game as Ramos headed over the crossbar in the 88th minute, before Jordi Alba poked a Ronaldo header at the back post just wide.

But it was Real captain Ramos who struck in the dying minutes. Finding himself unmarked in the box he powered home a header from a Modric free-kick to seal a point for the visiting side and ensure their unbeaten run in all competitions stretches to 33 games.

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