First Division - Day 30

Barcelona 1 - Real Madrid 1

Barcelona: Bonano; Puyol, Christanval, Frank De Boer, Coco; Luis Enrique (Rochemback 47'), Xavi, Cocu; Rivaldo (Overmars 79'); Kluivert, Saviola. 4-3-1-2.
Real Madrid: César; Michel Salgado, Hierro, Pavón, Roberto Carlos; Iván Helguera, Makelele; Zidane, Raúl, Solari (McManaman 92'); Guti (Savio 83'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Barcelona: Christanval, Xavi for Reiziger, Motta / Madrid: Guti for Morientes.

0-1. 33. Zidane. First time shot under Banano after Coco poked ball clear of Raúl.
1-1. 59. Xavi. Shot from outside of area which span back off César's hand into net.

The match between the league's two giants Barcelona and Real Madrid ended all square at 1-1 after a thrilling 90 minutes of football. Madrid had not won in the Nou Camp in nineteen years, but they felt that they had a good chance against a Barça side struggling to keep in touch with the top teams in the league. Del Bosque was able to put out a strong side having rested his top players midweek, and with Figo still injured, the on-form Solari kept his place. The surprise though was the inclusion of Guti up front rather than Morientes, presumably as he is a more versatile player and can fall back to midfield if needed. Rexach brought back Xavi having left him on the bench for the last couple of games, leaving out the less experienced Motta. Once again Rivaldo was called upon to play despite his niggling knee injury, and he tested César early on with a free kick which the keeper scrambled away with Saviola closing in.

Madrid were playing the better football though, with Bonano tipping a long shot from Roberto Carlos over the bar and Christanval deflecting Guti's shot just wide. Then with just over a half hour gone Coco tackled Raúl in the area and the ball fell to the unmarked Zidane, who powered a shot low past Bonano and in to the net. Kluivert had a chance to level the scores a minute later when Xavi's lifted pass left him alone in front of César, but he hurried his shot and put the ball wide of the post. It was an isolated attack though and Raúl very nearly increased Madrid's lead twice before half time, the first when he got the ball in the net from a quickly taken free kick only for it to be ruled out by a marginal offside decision, and the second when he headed a Roberto Carlos cross over the bar after getting in front of his marker.

Rexach surprised everyone taking off Luis Enrique only two minutes after the restart, bringing on Rochemback, but Barça's game improved and Xavi brought the save of the night out of César from a well struck free kick. Five minutes later though the keeper turned villain, getting an unconvincing hand to a long Xavi shot only to see the ball spin back over his head and bounce into the goal. Raúl almost restored Madrid's lead with a glorious chip from outside of the area which hit the bar with Bonano well beaten, and in the last minute Xavi struck another free kick against the bar, unaware though that referee Pérez Burrull had signalled that the kick was indirect. But in the end honours were shared taking Real Madrid above Valencia on goal average to the top of the table for 24 hours at least, with Barcelona still six points behind them in fifth place.