Refereeing farce ruins Clasico

Farcical refereeing took centre stage in the Clasico on Sunday, despite Real Madrid coming back twice to draw 2-2 with Barcelona.

See how the match unfolded at Camp Nou with our liveblog!

A Gareth Bale golazo earned Madrid a share of the spoils with Barca after they lost Cristiano Ronaldo to a suspected injury, but the Welshman was lucky to stay on for the goal, while Sergi Roberto was sent off on the stroke of half-time and Marcelo had a clear penalty waved away.

Bale surprisingly started the Clasico for Real Madrid against Barcelona, in what could've been BBC's final match together, while Raphael Varane put a calf injury behind him to partner Sergio Ramos in central defence, although Isco missed out completely and Dani Carvajal was only a substitute.

Barca, on the other hand, were as full-strength as could be, with Philippe Coutinho getting the nod over Ousmane Dembele on the right wing and Andres Iniesta passed fit for his last-ever Clasico.

This was the fifth meeting between the two sides in 2017-18, the pair having locked horns in the International Champions Cup and Supercopa during preseason, with Barca winning the former and Madrid going on to thrash their arch-rivals 5-1 over two legs.

However, the last Clasico in La Liga saw the Catalans come out on top, thrashing their arch-rivals 3-0 in December.

Just 10 minutes in, Sergi Roberto’s deep cross to Suarez was acrobatically volleyed home by the No 9, yet the Blaugrana were caught out by another far-post delivery soon after, when Ronaldo slid home Karim Benzema’s knockdown.

That goal came at a cost for the No 7, however, as he pulled up straight after, before hobbling off for treatment and being subbed off at half-time, thinking ahead to the Champions League Final.

The injury seemed to desert Ronaldo of his finishing prowess, the Portuguese first denied one-on-one by Ter Stegen, before he dragged a shot the wrong side of the goalkeeper’s far post.

It was then Keylor Navas’ turn to spring off his line in a flash and push the ball away from Messi’s feet, but the save was quickly followed by the showdown descending into farce.

Sergi Roberto and Marcelo bumped into each other near Barca’s box just before the break, but the former couldn’t keep his emotions in check and slapped the Brazilian for a straight red card.

If that wasn’t controversial enough, Bale escaped a card of his own for studding Samuel Umtiti from behind, while Suarez had a second goal disallowed, despite Ivan Rakitic being clearly onside when a rebound fell the striker’s way.

Football seemed to regain focus early in the second half, when Messi received a square ball in the Madrid area, before turning his marker and finding the bottom-left corner of Keylor’s net, yet Varane appeared to be clipped by Suarez in the goal’s build-up.

Out of nowhere – and just seconds after the Costa Rican got a huge hand to turn Messi's angled finish around the post – Bale unleashed a rocket past Ter Stegen after a deft reverse ball from Marco Asensio, who replaced Ronaldo at half-time.

It could and should have got worse for the hosts, but despite Jordi Alba blatantly chopping Marcelo in the box, Los Blancos weren’t awarded a penalty.

Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid

Suarez 10, Sergi Roberto sent off 45, Messi 52 (B) Ronaldo 15, Bale 72 (RM)

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Coutinho (Semedo 46), Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta (Paulinho 58); Messi, Suarez

Real Madrid: Keylor; Nacho (Vazquez 68), Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos (Kovacic 84); Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo (Asensio 46)

Referee: Hernandez Hernandez

La Liga - Club News