El Clasico match report: Cristiano Ronaldo's late Real Madrid winner ends Barcelona's winning streak

Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 2

Pete Jenson
Nou Camp
Saturday 02 April 2016 21:49 BST
Cristiano Ronaldo scores his late winner to sink Barcelona
Cristiano Ronaldo scores his late winner to sink Barcelona (Getty)

Gareth Bale declared Real Madrid’s season far from over after they ended Barcelona’s 39-game unbeaten run with a dramatic 2-1 win despite having been reduced to 10-men.

‘We know we can beat anyone on our day. Everyone says that Barcelona are the best team but we have beaten them in their own backyard so mentally it puts us in a great position. There is a long way to go in the league and Champions League and we just need to keep going,’ said the jubilant Welshman.

Bale had a well-taken goal from a back post header ruled out late on but then crossed for Cristiano Ronaldo to give 10-man Real Madrid a 2-1 victory over Barcelona after Karim Benzema had cancelled out Gerard Pique’s opener.

Asked if the result could be as much a boost for Madrid as a mental blow for Barcelona, Bale said: "That is what we are hoping for. Football does funny things to teams when they lose and you never know what can happen. Hopefully we can take this result into the Champions League.

Asked about a dream double of Spurs catching Leicester and Real conquering Europe again as they did two seasons ago he said: "That would be great. It would be the perfect end to the season."

Three times Sergio Ramos had risked a second yellow after an early caution for protesting. When he was finally shown red for a foul on Luis Suarez he was barely off the pitch when Bale crossed deep to Ronaldo who found himself at the back post one on one with Dani Alves. The Brazilian full-back jumped and missed the ball allowing Ronaldo to take it down on his chest and rifle it home.

"I have played in some big derbies in England but this rivalry is the biggest and even if we were out of the league to beat them is always sweet," Bale said. "We know the league will not be easy but we have given ourselves a chance.

"I can’t believe the referee ruled my goal out. He said I pushed Jordi Alba but I made sure I didn’t touch him because I know what the Spanish referees are like. I knew it wasn’t over even then. I still felt fresh and we knew we could hit them on the counter attack even with ten men."

There were emotional scenes before kick-off when the stadium applauded a video of clips and tributes to Cruyff and the Camp Nou mosaic spelled out ‘Gracias Johan’ but the first half football did little to honour the great man.

After a scrappy first 45 minutes in which Suarez squandered Barça’s best chance the home side finally took the lead 10 minutes into the second period when Pique headed in an Ivan Raktic corner. Benzema leveled for Madrid and when Ramos saw red it seemed to give Real Madrid a bigger boost than Barça.

Ronaldo clipped the bar with the clock running down and Bale had a perfectly good goal ruled out but recovered to send a deep cross to Ronaldo who finished off Barça. Real Madrid are not finished for the season just yet.

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