SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Barcelona and Real Madrid played to a 1-1 draw in Saturday’s showpiece El Clasico match at the Camp Nou. Luis Suarez put Barça ahead early in the second half only to see his goal cancelled out by a late equalizer from Sergio Ramos.
As you would expect from them playing at home in front of the Camp Nou crowd, Barcelona controlled possession early in the match, holding the ball but creating few real chance apart from a blocked shot by Luis Suarez on a cutback from Neymar.
Although Barça had the edge in possession, it was Madrid who enjoyed the best chances of the first half, both of which came from the boot of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese winger tore down the wing, burning Gerard Pique for pace and getting off a near-post snapshot that forced a reaction save from Barça keeper Marc Andre Ter-Stegen. Two minutes later, Ronaldo was at it again, receiving a pass from Lucas Vazquez, dodging challenges from Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba to force another save from the keeper with a right-footed shot from inside the box.
Barcelona failed to create any clear-cut chances in the first half although they were hard done by not have been awarded a penalty after Daniel Carvajal got away with handling the ball. Neymar had an otherwise quiet first half, as did Lionel Messi who played a deeper role than usual.
But Neymar would be involved in Suarez’s goal early in the second half. The Brazilian provided the set-piece delivery for Suarez who found space inside the box and blasted a header past keeper Keylor Navas to make it 1-0 in the 53rd minute.
The goal gave confidence to Barcelona who introduced Andres Iniesta for Rakitic on the hour mark. The hosts had a number of chances to extend their lead as the match ticked into its final 30 minutes.
Iniesta fed a ball to Neymar on a quick counterattack. The Brazilian bamboozled his way through the defense but with only Navas to beat, blasted his shot into the 18th row.
Just over 10 minutes later, Iniesta was involved again, playing Messi through on goal. This time it was Messi who would spurn a chance to beat Navas, putting his shot wide and extending his goal-drought against Real Madrid to six games.
As the match entered its final few minutes, Madrid increased the pressure and came close on several occasions. Sergio Ramos connected with a ball from Carvajal but sent his header over the bar. Moments later Marcelo broke down the ring and provided pinpoint delivery for Ronaldo at the near post. But the towering attacker got his header wrong and the chance went begging.
The equalizer finally came in the final minute of regulation time. Real Madrid won a free kick after a bad foul from Mascherano. Luka Modric stepped up to provide the deliver, lofting a ball into the danger zone for Ramos who broke free from Mascherano and headed the leveling goal past Ter Stegen to make it 1-1.
Barcelona kept fighting and nearly found a go ahead goal in the final moments of extra time. Navas punched away an effort that fell to Alba who chipped a ball back in that was headed off the line by Casemiro eventually falling to Pique who was incapable of lining up a shot.
Seconds later the whistle blew with the score tied at 1-1. While the result was not a disaster for Barcelona it leaves them six points behind Madrid at the top of the table.