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Ramos sees win in draw

Real Madrid and Barcelona breathe down each other's neck with both on 36 points from 17 games after the draw
Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos, left, heads for the ball with Barcelona's Arturo Vidal during a Spanish La Liga match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday

Agencies   |   Barcelona   |   Published 19.12.19, 10:09 PM

Real Madrid outplayed Barcelona for much of Wednesday’s ‘Clasico’ but did not make their dominance count in a politically-charged match between the La Liga front runners which largely failed to live up to expectations.

The draw left champions Barca top on 36 points after 17 games with Real also on 36, five clear of third-placed Sevilla. Both sides had shots cleared off the line but Real were left feeling more disappointed after winning the tactical battle but failing to take their chances.

They also had two penalty appeals turned down and Gareth Bale had an effort ruled narrowly offside as the fixture ended scoreless for the first time since November, 2002, when Luis Figo had a pig’s head thrown at him by Barca fans who felt betrayed by him leaving the Catalans to join Real.

Play was briefly halted on Wednesday when beach balls were hurled on to the pitch by fans in protest against the lengthy jail sentences handed to Catalan separatist leaders two months ago.

The game had been rescheduled from October 26 due to the political turmoil that gripped Catalonia in the aftermath of those sentences and was played amid a protest near the stadium attended by several thousand people.

Loud chants of “independence” and “freedom” greeted kick-off while many supporters held up flags reading “Spain Sit and Talk” which had been distributed by protest organisers in a call for dialogue between the central government and Catalonia.

The action on the pitch did not quite live up to the tense atmosphere in the stands, however, as Barca failed to get going throughout the game and Real bossed the first half.

Real captain Sergio Ramos said his side were unfortunate not to earn a spot-kick.

“Today (Wednesday) we saw a great Real Madrid side with a lot of character which is exactly the image we wanted to give. We went out to try and take the ball off them and we created a lot of chances,” he told reporters.

“We watched the penalty appeals at halftime and they seemed pretty clear, they are both penalties but we can’t change that. VAR is there to help but today we didn’t get that bit of luck.”

Dozens injured

Masked protesters set bins on fire and threw rocks and glass bottles at police who responded with foam bullets in a street near Barcelona’s Camp Nou. Fortysix people were lightly injured in the clashes, including eight who needed to be taken to hospital for extra care, local emergency services said. Ten people were arrested. 

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