A superb strike from Gareth Bale earned Real Madrid a point as they drew 2-2 with ten-man FC Barcelona in El Clasico on Sunday evening.
Gareth Bale made a return to the line-up for the visitors as Isco missed out through injury, while Andres Iniesta started his final El Clasico for the Catalan giants before he leaves the club at the end of the season.
Barca looked lively in the opening exchanges and they were rewarded for a good start when Luis Suarez broke the deadlock after 11 minutes by turning home Roberto’s pin-point cross with a wonderful side-footed volley.
Barca’s joy was short-lived, though, as Los Blancos leveled matters four minutes later with Ronaldo poking home from close range after Karim Benzema had headed the ball into the Portuguese’s path.
Despite Barca’s dominance, Real continued to create chances and they should have gone ahead in the 27th minute when Ronaldo was left one-on-one with Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, who did well to deny the forward point-blank.
The hosts had an opportunity to restore their lead on 36 minutes but Samuel Umtiti steered wide of Keylor Navas’ upright, while Ronaldo saw his looping header sail onto the roof of the net at the other end moments later.
Things got testy between the two teams before the break as Barca were reduced to 10 men when Sergi Roberto was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident with Marcelo.
Zinedine Zidane opted for a change at the start of the second half, as Marcos Asensio replaced Ronaldo, while Barca withdrew Philippe Coutinho for Nelson Semedo.
Despite being a man down, Barce restored their lead seven minutes into the second half as Messi skipped past a couple challenges before firing a low effort past Navas.
Ernesto Valverde then opted for a change on 58 minutes as Paulinho replaced Iniesta, who had played his final El Clasico as he is set to leave the club at the end of the season.
Navas came to Los Blancos’ rescue with 20 minutes remaining as he produced a good save to deny Messi from close range.
Moments later, the visitors were level as Asensio teed up Bale, who sent a superb first-time effort past Ter Stegen from the edge of the box.
Messi nearly put Barca ahead for a third time in the 82nd minute but Navas was alert to keep out the Argentine’s stinging effort at the near post.
The final stages of the second half was lively, although neither could find a winning goal and the spoils were shared of the evening.