Barcelona and Real Madrid play out stale draw in El clasico

365

Barcelona and Real Madrid played out the first goalless draw in El Clasico for 17 years as the Nou Camp played host to the fixture more than seven weeks later than initially planned.

Clashes in Catalonia led to El Clasico being postponed back in October, and the rescheduled fixture was a high-security affair on Wednesday with pro-independence protests taking place outside the Nou Camp.

But for some yellow footballs being thrown onto the pitch in the second half, tensions never really spilled over once the match was under way.

With regards to chances, Jordi Alba should have broken the deadlock for Barcelona before the break, while VAR then denied Gareth Bale in the second half after Ferland Mendy strayed offside in the build-up.

Deal of the day

The draw ultimately leaves Barca and Real locked on 36 points at the top of La Liga after 17 games.

Pre-match talk was dominated by whether the 243rd Clasico would go ahead at the second time of asking, but a large security operation ensured there was no delay to the 8pm kick-off local time.

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Both sets of players were at the same hotel a stone’s throw away from the Nou Camp before being escorted to the stadium more than two hours before kick-off, while protests outside conveyed the message: ‘Spain, sit and talk’.

Once play got under way, it proved to be a fraught affair, with Gerard Pique’s goal-line clearance denying Casemiro the opener, before Sergio Ramos – playing in a record 43rd Clasico – did likewise to prevent Lionel Messi down the other end.

Barcelona should have broken the deadlock just before the break, but Alba could only volley a first-time effort wide from eight yards out after Messi’s delightful chip over the defence.

The 'Spain, sit and talk' message was on display inside the Nou Camp as well
The ‘Spain, sit and talk’ message was on display inside the Nou Camp as well

After the break, the first and only disruption took place as Barcelona announced their first substitution. Yellow footballs were hurled onto the pitch, but stewards quickly cleared them off as Arturo Vidal replaced Nelson Semedo.

There was then the rare occasion where Messi failed to connect with a ball properly. The Argentine played a one-two with Antoine Griezmann but could only miskick his attempt from 10 yards out.

Bale had the ball in the back of the net with 20 minutes to go, but after a VAR check, Mendy was deemed to have been offside before his cross was met by the Welshman.

The tie petered out and ended in a point for both sides. Damage limitations with neither falling behind in the title race.

SKY