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Immediate Reaction Real Madrid 2 - 3 Barcelona

Real Madrid inexcusably let this one slip.

Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Real Madrid lose a roller-coaster in the dying minutes as Messi sinks the Bernabeu with a last-second goal. Barcelona come away with a priceless 2-3 victory (Messi x2, Rakitic; Casemiro, James). Below is our reaction, which will be followed by player ratings, a post-game podcast, and a match review.

Just five days after Real Madrid took part in an uncomfortably entertaining match against Bayern Munich, they took part in an end-to-end, back-and-forth Clasico at the Bernabeu in what turned out to be a showdown of ‘whoever misses the most chances will lose’. Turns out, that team was Real Madrid. While both Ter Stegen and Keylor Navas were in peak-form, taking turns denying clear-cut chances, Cristiano Ronaldo missed the most straightforward chance of all — a ball played in by Asensio which Ronaldo leaned back before miscueing in front of goal in the second half.

It was going to take a hell of an effort to beat an other-worldly Keylor Navas tonight, which Ivan Rakitic eventually did with an unbelievable left-footed strike after a cut-in from the right, and though Real Madrid tried their best to push forward and sling a goal back, their defense spread open enough for Messi to pierce through open space, which Sergio Ramos coped with by going in with two studs and earning a direct red.

Woah. Hold up. Real Madrid were now in the exact situation as last year’s Clasico at the Camp Nou — down one goal with Ramos getting sent off late. And, it was the same referee to boot. It seemed so doom-and-gloom when it happened, but you may have been in the small contingent which held up hope due to last year’s Clasico comeback victory in the same situation.

And lo-and-behold, with their backs to the walls, they responded. James Rodriguez, an unlikely hero, made a cutting run which caught a sleeping Busquets off-guard — volleying home a cross from Marcelo.

Short-lived. What ensued was inexcusable. While searching the winner in a similar manner to last year’s Clasico, Zidane’s men approached it without pragmatism. On the final play of the match, down a man, Real Madrid pressed-high — really inefficiently — on a throw-in, and their press was easily broken by a Sergi Roberto run — leaving him in open water with Real Madrid back-peddling with just three defenders. Messi was always going to score.

There is a lot to breakdown in this game, which we’ll do shortly on our post-game podcast and match review. If you have any particular questions for tonight’s pod, send them here.

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