Last minute Messi goal wins Barça the clasicoApril 24, 2017
The clasico is probably the biggest single event in club football and draws an audience of I don’t know how many millions worldwide. The problem is that sometimes the build-up turns out to be more exciting than the actual match. And then I feel cheated.
Last night that wasn’t the case though and can’t remember a match that has left me feeling quite as exhausted at the end. I’ve complained about Barcelona’s inconsistency this season but last night they came fighting and continued to do so throughout the match. When the ref only gave two minutes of injury time it didn’t seem enough. But with seconds remaining Sergi Roberto charged forward with the ball. Andre Gomes, Jordi Alba, Messi and… goal! It was his second of the night, his 500th goal for Barça and a win at the Santiago Bernabeu. The hosts had no time left to score, victory was Barcelona’s.
Real Madrid came on looking as strong as you’d expect and Barcelona lost focus around 20 minutes in when Marcelo’s elbow connected with Leo Messi’s face. He lay stunned on the ground bleeding from the mouth and played for much of the remainder of the match with a wad of tissue to stop the blood. Reportedly he spat out a tooth in the tunnel just before going on for the second half. Difficult to be sure from the video I’ve seen. After all that it was the hosts who scored the opener after 28 minutes. Casemiro put the ball into the net off a Ramos rebound. Barça didn’t have to wait long though. Messi equalised five minutes later off a Rakitic assist and things went further awry for Madrid when Gareth Bale was substituted due to injury.
The remainder of the first half and the first twenty five minutes of the second continued with both teams battling on. Then, in the 73rd minute, Rakitic put the Catalans ahead. The moment all culés had been waiting for all night had happened at last. And soon Madrid were down to 10 men when Ramos was shown the red card for a completely unnecessary foul on Messi. Let’s hope he gets the same three-match suspension as dealt to Neymar for protesting the ref’s decision. But with five minutes to go things went wrong for Barça. Marcelo crossed to James Rodriguez who put the ball past Ter Stegen. Madrid had drawn level again. Finally, just as I was accepting we’d have to make do with one point Messi worked his magic. It was an incredible moment, snatching a win in the very last seconds of play.
1-0 Casemiro (min 28)
1-1 Messi (min 33)
1-2 Rakitic (min 73)
2-2 James Rodríguez (min 85)
2-3 Messi (min 90+2)
The result means Barcelona now equal Madrid’s 75 points but sit at the top of the table. And while Madrid still have a game in hand the Barcelona squad now get to put their feet up while their arch rival trains for and plays Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. That means Barça should be fresher for their remaining league matches. Fingers crossed it works that way anyway!
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