Lionel Messi once again showed why he is head and shoulders above the rest of the footballing world when he scored a brace in an all-important game for Barcelona against arch-rivals Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. To make it even more special, the second of the two goals was the final kick of the game and kept the Spanish league title race wholly and squarely open. After Barcelona’s 3-2 win in the Clasico, Barcelona went top of the table with Madrid level on points. However, Real do have the luxury of a game in hand at Celta Vigo.
In the first half, Casemiro gave Real Madrid the lead after Sergio Ramos kept the ball alive from a Marcelo cross into the area. Marc-Andre Ter Stegen made himself big but couldn’t do enough to prevent a low shot from hitting the post and trickling down to Casemiro at the far post who scrambled the ball home.
Messi equalised within five minutes for Barcelona after receiving the ball at the edge of the area and displaying some quick feet and magical dribbling skills to wade the challenges of Real Madrid players in the box to shoot past Keylor Navas.
In the 73rd minute, Ivan Rakitic broke the deadlock with a fierce left footed shot into the corner of the goal that was completely unstoppable and had no chance for Navas to stop. It gave Barcelona a much needed lead in the game and possibly hold on till the end.
Barcelona’s effort to take the game home got a massive uplifting when four minutes later, Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos received his marching orders after a late challenge from behind left Messi in a heap and writhing in pain. Despite the usual protests, the referee sent him off for his actions and Real Madrid’s task of getting an equaliser looked difficult with their usual late goal scorer sent off.
In the final throw of the dice by Zinedine Zidane, he sent in James Rodriguez in place of Karim Benzema as the final substitution. It came as a surprise considering James had gone down the pecking order for the French manager. But the Colombian scored within three minutes of coming on after darting across to the front post and heading in a Marcelo cross.
The 2-2 equaliser should have ideally been good enough for Real but in an attempt at getting the win, Zidane’s side pushed too many men forward and Barcelona capitalised deep into stoppage time. After a counter attacking move, Jordi Alba provided an assist for Messi to score low into the corner and get Barcelona the winning goal(THE INDIAN EXPRESS,2017).