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Messi and Ronaldo light up El Clasico
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo matched each other blow for blow at the Nou Camp, bagging two goals apiece as Barcelona and Real Madrid battled out an entertaining 2-2 draw in the first Clasico of the Primera Division season.
Tito Vilanova's Barca headed into the game eight points clear of their arch-rivals and boasting a 100 per cent record from their first six matches, but found themselves trailing midway through the first half when Ronaldo netted for the sixth straight Clasico.
But Messi equalised with a scrappy goal soon after and then put the hosts ahead with a stunning free-kick on the hour, only for Ronaldo to capitalise on sloppy defending midway through the second half to ensure honours ended even.
The visitors began brightly and created the better of the early chances. Karim Benzema miscued a volley horribly wide from 12 yards and Sergio Ramos leapt above the Barca defence only to direct his header inches wide of Victor Valdes' goal.
The warning signs had been there but Barca failed to heed them and the opener duly arrived midway through the first half. Benzema turned neatly on the edge of the box and fed Ronaldo, who lashed home a low left-footed finish which beat Valdes at his near post.
It could have been 2-0 moments later when Khedira burst down the right before feeding Benzema. The Frenchman spooned his effort against the post, though, and Di Maria sent the rebound wide with the goal at his mercy.
However Barca were soon level. Madrid failed to clear their lines from Pedro Rodriguez's cross and, after bobbling around in the area the ball fell kindly to Messi in the six-yard box and he lashed past a helpless Iker Casillas and into the roof of the net.
The hosts took the lead in spectacular style on the hour mark, Messi picking himself up after being fouled by Xabi Alonso and despatching a brilliant left-footed free-kick up over the wall and curling away from the diving Casillas.
Whatever Messi could do, though, Ronaldo could do too, and swiftly matched the Argentina forward's eight goals in La Liga this term six minutes later. Ozil slotted a slick pass through to the Portuguese, who had been played onside by Adriano and coolly slotted past Valdes to get Madrid back on level terms.
Montoya was almost an unlikely match-winner on 88 minutes for Barca but his right-footed attempt from the edge of the box crashed back off the bar, before Pedro burst through in stoppage time and unleashed a left-footed shot which flew just wide.