Football’s most famous club rivalry returned as Real Madrid and Barcelona played out their La Liga Santander tie at Camp Nou in Barcelona.
Barcelona‘s bright start to the game forced Courtois into action to defend the Madrid goal yet it was the visitors who netted first via an Araujo own goal in the 9th minute.
Against the run of play, the ball made its way Vinicius in a swift Real Madrid counter attack. Forced out wide by Busquets, the Brazilian forward clipped the ball towards the penalty spot, but Araujo caught the ball and saw it loop past Ter Stegen and into the host’s net.
A spell of Barcelona pressure towards the end of the first-half saw Courtois called to action once again as he denied Christensen and Raphinha.
Moments before the half-time whistle, a couple of decisive saves from Madrid’s Belgian keeper and a block from Rudiger lead to a goalmouth scramble which resulted in the ball falling to the Barcelona full-back, Sergi Roberto, who was able to fire towards the near post to level the hosts.
The Azulgrana started the second-half on the front foot, applying pressure to Real Madrid’s defensive line and feeding attractive balls to the dangerous Lewandowski but lacking the final touch to punish their rival.
Late Clasico drama
Ancelotti looked for inspiration in the form of fresh attacking reinforcements. Rodrygo and Asensio were both substituted on to offer the Blancos more creativity.
The Italian’s decision paid off as Asensio netted for the Madrid side in the 81st minute. The Spanish forward met Dani Carvajal‘s cross and put the hosts ahead.
A VAR check, however, deemed Asensio to be a fraction offside and the scoreboard returned to 1-1, granting the Azulgrana a lifeline.
Just as everyone thought the match was in its dying embers, substitute Frank Kessie scored a remarkable winner for Barcelona in the second minute of injury time. The midfielder met a neat pullback into the box to meet a roar in Camp Nou, steering Barcelona to victory.
Aside from the late goal, the evening was an untypically drama-free contest, lacking any of the antics that the Clasico is well-known for.
The two sides will face each other again in the second leg semi-final of the Copa del Rey next month.