Sergio Ramos scored a trademark late header as Real Madrid earned a 1-1 draw at Barcelona in El Clasico.
The defender continued his knack for last-gasp heroics when he rose to glance in a Luka Modric free-kick in the 90th minute and extend Real’s unbeaten run to 33 games in all competitions.
Zinedine Zidane’s side have not lost in all competitions since a Champions League defeat at Wolfsburg in April, and started the stronger side in this Liga encounter.
Real saw an early penalty claim denied for a push on Lucas Vazquez by Javier Mascheranoand dominated the first period as Barcelona continued to stutter in attack.
But poor play by Raphael Varane gifted Barcelona the advantage as the Frenchman first committed a needless foul, then failed to mark Luis Suarez properly, allowing the Uruguayan to head in.
The introduction of Andres Iniesta gave Barcelona a measure of control, and Neymarshould have put them two up but fired over.
Cristiano Ronaldo failed to convert a late back-post header, but there was still time for Ramos to grab a share of the points.
Two crucial points dropped for struggling Barca? Suffering such a late blow could have a devastating on Luis Enrique’s side who have now only collected three points from their previous seven matches. A six-point lead may not seem significant in December but considering the form both sides are currently showing, it’s difficult to envisage Zinedine Zidane’s charges throwing such an advantage away.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) – Made a number of crucial interventions in defence and topped off a classy performance with a late header to gain his side a vital point in the title race.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen 6; Roberto 6, Mascherano 6, Pique 6, Alba 7; Gomes 6,Busquets 6, Rakitic 7; Neymar 7, Suarez 7,Messi 7. Subs: Iniesta, 6, D Suarez 5, Turan 5.
Real Madrid: Navas 6; Carvajal 7, Ramos 8, Varane, Marcelo 6; Kovacic 7, Modric 7, Isco 6; Vasquez 7, Benzema 6, Ronaldo 6. Subs: Casemiro 6, Asensio 6, Mariano 6.
9′ – CHANCE! Neymar is played through at the back post, he slips at a crucial moment but still manages to pick out Roberto, however Ramos is at the right place to make an intervention – but did it strike the defender’s arm?
28’ – YELLOW CARD! Neymar is booked for a foul on Vasquez. To be honest, there wasn’t much in it. The Barcelona forward will now sit out the next match against Osasuna.
36’ – SAVE! Real launch a counter attack and Ronaldo is released on the channel, he bursts into the penalty area and fires a shot at Ter Stegen from a tight angle which the goalkeeper does well to turn it wide.
37’ – SAVE! Ronaldo comes close to opening the scoring as he tricks his way into the penalty area before toe-poking a shot at goal but again Ter Stegen is there to make the stop!
52’ – GOAL! Barcelona take the lead through Suarez! The forward out-jumps Vasquez and heads in from a Neymar free-kick. Completely undeserved but Luis Enrique won’t be complaining!
67’ – MISS! Neymar should double Barca’s advantage – he breaks into the visitors’ penalty area but somehow fires over the crossbar!
81’ – WIDE! Messi has the perfect opportunity to seal the points for Barca but after breaking into the area he somehow fires the shot wide.
90’ – GOAL! It’s a smash and grab for Real Madrid as they equalise in the dying stages. Ramos with the header from Modric’s great free-kick delivery.
Luka Modric assisted Sergio Ramos for the first time since the 2014 Champions League final.
Sergio Ramos scored his fourth goal in El Clasico, the first one at Camp Nou since 2007.
Neymar has had a hand in six goals in his seven Clasicos in La Liga (three goals, three assists).
No player has scored more goals against Keylor Navas at Real Madrid than Luis Suarez (three in all competitions).