Messi's 500th Barcelona Goal Is Late El Clasico Winner

Marcelo is confident Sunday's defeat will not prove to be too detrimental to Real's title chances, as the Madrid giants aim to claim their first league crown since 2012. Messi was taken to the touchline after that incident, and returned to the match with gauze in his mouth.

The lead lasted just five minutes, though, as with a handkerchief still mopping the blood from his cheek, Messi danced past Dani Carvajal and Nacho to fire home his first goal against Madrid for three years. His goal made it 2-2, a scoreline that, had it stood, would have all but clinched the title, and in an appropriate way.

Fresh from dumping Bayern Munich out the Champions League in a 4-2 thriller after extra-time in midweek, Madrid had started confidently in another breathless encounter at the Bernabeu. Madrid's Sergio Ramos stayed true to form, receiving a straight red card for a reckless two-footed tackle on Messi - his second-successive season being sent off in an El Clasico.

"Sergi Roberto's run was bestial in the last minute", Luis Enrique wanted to point out. Andre Gomes went with him, and so did Jordi Alba. Messi was coming back to his own half, sometimes, to collect the ball and build some moves. It was the final kick of the game.

We've seen it all before with Ronaldo, of course, but Spanish broadcasters' understandable urge to pan to Ronaldo when Messi produces something decisive in any El Clásico tends to up the ante as where the already-colossal fixture is concerned.

"We've done everything we could to win and even draw with a player less, but we conceded a goal at the end", said Marcelo. His (second) goal was also his 500th and he's playing for an incredible club. "All I can do is get us to the games in the best condition possible, and that's what we're doing".

It had been wonderful, wild and open to the end. He is a born leader, and it goes without saying, Messi, like other players, hates losing.

"I have to look at the game again but I wouldn't have changed anything", Zidane said.

Zidane was left to lament his side's over-adventurous nature, conceding in stoppage time after being reduced to 10 men.

Messi had cancelled out Casemiro's opener before half-time.

Barca took the lead through Ivan Rakitic who scored with a wonderful left foot shot from 20 yards out which left Navas helpless with just 17 minutes left on the clock.

However, Real rallied as substitute Rodriguez equalised.

"Drawing the game with 10 men, to press high up the field is risky and we paid for that", Zidane said. "Three vital points are at stake and we'll need to perform to our best".

"When we lose we have to know how to accept the criticism".

  • Julie Sanders