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First Division - Day 32

Real Madrid 1 - Barcelona 1

Madrid: Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Raúl Albiol, Carvalho, Marcelo; Khedira, Pepe, Xabi Alonso (Adebayor 66'); Di María (Arbeloa 66'), Benzema (Özil 57'), Cristiano Ronaldo. 4-3-3.
Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Dani Alves, Piqué, Puyol (Keita 58'), Adriano (Maxwell 77'); Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Pedro (Afellay 66'), Messi, David Villa. 4-3-3.

0-1. 53. Messi (penalty). After Raúl Albiol sent off for foul on Villa inside area.
1-1. 82. Cristiano Ronaldo (penalty). After Dani Alves tripped Marcelo in area.

Yellow cards: Adriano 08', Piqué 26', Marcelo 30', Arbeloa 75', Dani Alves 77', Valdés 81', Xavi 92' / red cards: Raúl Albiol 51'.

The first of the four upcoming meetings between Real Madrid and Barcelona ended in a 1-1 draw, a result which maintains Barça's eight point lead at the top of the table. It was a tactical match at first, with Mourinho bringing in Pepe to strengthen his midfield, and he established two well-ordered defensive lines which allowed the visitors much of the ball, but very little space once they approached the goal. Messi did get through a couple of times though only for Casillas to deal with his attempted lob, and then with an angled shot, and Villa thought he should have had a penalty when Casillas brought him down later in the first half.

Madrid had their chances as well though, particularly on the breakaway, and Cristiano Ronaldo was thwarted twice by Adriano, the second a header from close up which the Brazilian full back headed off the line. Soon after the restart Ronaldo hit the outside of the post with a free kick, but only a minute later Albiol was sent off after pulling down Villa in the area, and Messi stepped up to convert the resulting spot kick.

Barcelona couldn't take full advantage of the extra man however, their only real chances a long shot from Xavi which brushed the crossbar, and an effort by Villa which he fired straight at Casillas. Pepe and Adebayor went close at the other end as Madrid opened up, and with eight minutes to go Ronaldo levelled the scores with a second penalty after Alves brought down Marcelo in the area, the referee letting the full back off what would have been a second yellow card. Honours were shared in the end though in tihs first meeting, and the two teams meet again in the Spanish cup final next Wednesday.