Real Madrid, Barcelona all square after King's Cup first leg

Cesc Fabregas

Barca went closest to scoring when Xavi curled a 21st-minute free kick against the crossbar and then had a shot brilliantly cleared off the line by Varane three minutes later.

Ronaldo, captaining the side in his 600th official game, had forced a good save from Barca keeper Jose Manuel Pinto with a free kick in the second minute and Karim Benzema volleyed narrowly wide just before the half hour.

PERFECT GAME

After Fabregas put Barca ahead, Ronaldo nodded wide with the goal at his mercy before the Portuguese was denied by a superb last-ditch tackle from Gerard Pique.

Fabregas fired just over the bar from a Daniel Alves cross shortly after and then sent Pedro through on goal but his Spain team mate clipped his shot wide with only Lopez to beat.

Varane's leveller was no more than Real deserved and Lopez, making his debut after joining from Sevilla as cover for Casillas, thrilled the home fans when he palmed away a Jordi Alba strike late on.

Casillas, who broke a bone in his hand this month and is out for up to three months, has not missed a "Clasico" in more than a decade.

Assistant Real coach Aitor Karanka, standing in for Jose Mourinho, was full of praise for the 19-year-old Varane and Lopez at his post-match news conference.

"Varane played a perfect game, he has his head screwed on just right," Karanka said.

"Diego is a keeper who has played in the top flight for many years and he showed the qualities he has."

The biggest surprise of the night was that neither Messi, who had scored at least once in his last 16 starts for Barca, or Ronaldo were on the scoresheet.

Messi is one goal short of Alfredo Di Stefano's record for "Clasico" matches of 18, while Ronaldo's record run of scoring in six straight matches between Real and Barca came to an end.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views, opinions and comments posted are your, and are not endorsed by this website. You shall be solely responsible for the comment posted here. The website reserves the right to delete, reject, or otherwise remove any views, opinions and comments posted or part thereof. You shall ensure that the comment is not inflammatory, abusive, derogatory, defamatory &/or obscene, or contain pornographic matter and/or does not constitute hate mail, or violate privacy of any person (s) or breach confidentiality or otherwise is illegal, immoral or contrary to public policy. Nor should it contain anything infringing copyright &/or intellectual property rights of any person(s).
comments powered by Disqus