Barcelona's Lionel Messi (R) walks past Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo during their Spanish first division soccer match at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona, October 7, 2012.
(Photo : REUTERS/Albert Gea (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))
Barcelona drew with Real Madrid 2-2 in the first game this season in which the Catalonians did not win.
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This game was about the rivalry between the two squads and about on the rivalry between the two greatest soccer players in the world - Ronaldo and Messi. During the match, both players had a chance to make their final major pitch for the 2012 Ballon D'Or but also at stake was an 8-point difference between the two teams in the standings and an opportunity for one side to open up an insurmountable lead while the other tried to save their season.
The game got off to a sloppy start for Barca as Real Madrid took advantage of their weak backline and created a number of scoring chances. Cristiano Ronaldo took the spotlight with a strong finish off a great passing play in the midfield to give Real Madrid a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute. But Barcelona got lucky as a Pedro cross and a poor play by Pepe led to a Lionel Messi goal in the 31st minute mark.
Barcelona was dreadful up to this point, but then picked up the slack and eventually took the lead at the 61-minute mark off of a Messi free kick. It looked as if Madrid was done at that point.
But just five minutes later, Mesut Ozil put the ball past the Barcelona defense to a breaking Ronaldo who flicked it over keeper Victor Valdes to knot the score at 2. It was his eighth goal of the season and fifth in two la Liga matches. Since last Sunday, Ronaldo has scored 8 goals in just 3 matches.
From that point forward, the match was a nerve-wracking affair. Messi had another free kick and missed it wide. Camera shots of keeper Iker Casillas saw the usually composed keeper looking anxious.
The surprising stat of the night was that all-world Spanish keeper Iker Casillas made no saves. Barcelona was stopped twice by the post.
The draw ultimately does not change the eight-point gap between the two squads, but it does slow Barcelona down a bit. Ronaldo and Messi were on the same level with two goals apiece, but the Portuguese man has now doubled his total of League Clasico goals. More importantly however is that he suffered a shoulder injury during the match and his health in now in question.