On this day: Real Madrid 2-3 Barcelona


Lionel Messi swept home a dramatic last-minute winner to give Barcelona victory at the Santiago Bernabéu in El Clásico, three years ago today.

The Argentine genius scored his second of the night – his 500th goal for the Catalans – in the 92nd minute, as Barça leapfrogged arch-rivals Real Madrid to go top of La Liga.

Messi’s memorable shirt-raising celebration was the defining image of a thrilling match that had five goals, a red card and all of the drama world football fans expect when these two giants face off.

A win would’ve effectively handed the 2017 championship to Zinedine Zidane’s Los Blancos, who went into the fixture three points ahead of Barcelona having played a game less.

But despite the absence of the suspended Neymar and a disappointing Champions League exit to Juventus four days earlier, Barça rose to the occasion and breathed new life into the title race.

Cristiano Ronaldo thought he should’ve had the chance to give Real Madrid the lead only two minutes in, after being caught in the penalty area by Samuel Umtiti.

The hosts then spurned several chances before eventually taking the lead in the 28th minute – Casemiro the unlikely scorer.

Barcelona equalised five minutes late, thanks to a piece of now unsurprising Messi magic, and the momentum was firmly with Luis Enrique’s side when Gareth Bale limped off before half time.

Rakitic himself then netted the visitors second from the edge of the box with just 17 minutes remaining and things went from bad to worse for Madrid when they were reduced to ten men.

A wild lunge, one of several rough tackles on Messi from the hosts, earned Sergio Ramos his fifth red card against Barça (and 22nd for Real) in the 77th minute.

Late substitute James Rodríguez still though he’d done enough to earn Madrid a valuable point by netting to make it 2-2 with five minutes left to play.

But the hosts continued to pile forward, pushing high up the pitch to chase a winning goal they didn’t really need.

This left way too much space in their defensive half for Barcelona’s slick passing to exploit as the clock ticked down.

Deep into the second of two added minutes, Andre Gomes teed-up Jordi Alba to pick out a pass from the left, after Sergi Roberto had carried the ball from the edge of his own box.

From just inside the penalty area, an unmarked Messi whipped the ball into the near post with a precise and powerful first-time effort that skimmed the grass as it went under a helpless Keylor Navas.

Messi then famously celebrated by taking off his shirt and holding his name aloft to the silenced home supporters, as the devastated Madrid players sunk to the ground.

The goal sealed the 3-2 win for Barcelona exploded the title race into life as they jumped above their hosts and bitter enemies thanks to a superior head to head record, though Real retained their game in hand.


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