Thursday, 24 May, 2018

Villarreal confirm they will give Barcelona belated guard of honour

Barcelona captain Iniesta savours 'good taste' of last Clasico Gareth Bale denies 10-man Barcelona victory over Real Madrid in El Clásico
Elias Hubbard | 11 May, 2018, 00:56

Barcelona has three matches left to become the first team to go unbeaten in the competition since the 1930s, when it consisted of 10 teams compared to 20 now. Sergi Roberto also impressed, before being sent off.

Even though nothing was at stake, both teams played with all the emotion of a final.

Javi Calleja's side have already secured their spot in the Europa League next term but will be motivated to try and finish as high as possible in the table, while Barca of course want to preserve their unbeaten record. Suarez swept the ball out to the right where Sergi ignored Messi's run to the near post and returned the cross deep to Suarez. Be it Camp Nou or San Bernabeu, the clash of titans is always a moment to savour.

Ronaldo paid a price for the goal with Gerard Pique stepping on his ankle as he unsuccessfully tried to stop the Madrid forward from scoring.

Messi received a yellow card in the 45th minute for a poor slide into Sergio Ramos.

Conversely, Benzema and Ronaldo were both excellent, regularly showing fluid movement and risky intent to repeatedly put Barca under pressure, but whether Bale's goal was enough to convince Zidane that he should receive a more prominent role from now on is dubious. That preceded Roberto's red card.

El Clasico's can't always be attractive, and there's nothing wrong with the occasional war of attrition, but Sunday night's edition was so devoid of quality for long periods, that there were no real winners in the end. And in the build-up to the Catalans' second goal, Luis Suarez seemed to trip Raphael Varane. With most of the players visibly exhausted and struggling to recover on defense, both sides had chances to get the win.

"The guard of honour is a matter of respect between players and professionals who play", Bartlomeu told AS. Real Madrid wasted the opportunity to cut the deficit to second-placed Atletico Madrid, who were stunned by Espanyol 0-2 earlier in the day.

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