Lionel Messi helped 10-man Barcelona remain undefeated in the Spanish league after drawing 2-2 with Real Madrid on Sunday in a testy “clasico” match that saw Cristiano Ronaldo substituted at halftime with a leg injury.
Ronaldo hurt his lower right leg while canceling out Luis Suarez’s opener in the 10th minute. Gerard Pique stepped on his ankle as he unsuccessfully tried to stop the Madrid forward from scoring from close range. Ronaldo played on until halftime, when he was replaced by Marco Asensio.
Madrid was dominating the match at Camp Nou and Barcelona right back Sergi Roberto was shown a direct red card in first-half injury time for swiping his hand at Marcelo’s face as tempers flared between the rivals.
But that was when Messi came to the hosts’ rescue, sending the ball past Keylor Navas in the 52nd to swing the match back in Barcelona’s favor despite playing a man down.
Gareth Bale pulled Madrid level again in the 72nd after curling in a pass by Asensio. Messi had more chances to grab the late winner but was denied by Navas.
Champion Barcelona stayed unbeaten through 35 league matches this season and extended its record run to 42 consecutive games without a loss. Its last defeat in La Liga was at Malaga in April 2017.
Barcelona has matches left against Villarreal, Levante and Real Sociedad to try and become the first team to go unbeaten in the competition since the 1930s, when it consisted of 10 teams compared to 20 now.