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La Liga wrap: Messi, Ronaldo star in 2-2 draw

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were both in scintillating form as Barcelona and Real Madrid played out a 2-2 draw in La Liga on Sunday.

With Real in need of a win over their league-leading rivals, Ronaldo got them off to the perfect start as he silenced the Camp Nou crowd with the opening goal on 23 minutes.

But a double from Messi, including a sumptuous second-half free-kick, put Barca in the driving seat, before Ronaldo levelled just after the hour-mark as the teams shared the spoils.

The result saw Barca stay eight points clear of their rivals, who are seventh.

Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos both went close for Real with early efforts before Ronaldo gave Jose Mourinho’s men a deserved lead.

A brilliant flowing move, initiated by Mesut Oezil on the right, ended with Benzema slipping the ball to Ronaldo, who powered a shot past Victor Valdes at his near post.

A depleted Barca defence, without Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique, struggled and Benzema struck the post soon after.

Barcelona were still at their best at the other end and they secured an equaliser when Pedro’s cross looped into the air following a pair of deflections, falling for Messi to fire home the leveller in the 31st minute.

Messi gave Barcelona the lead just after the hour-mark with a superb free-kick, curling his 30-yard effort over the wall and into the top corner.

Tito Vilanova’s men saw their lead last just five minutes as Ronaldo latched onto an Oezil through ball to draw them level.

It was Barcelona who went closest to finding a winner late on as Martin Montoya struck the crossbar and Pedro drilled a low shot wide.

Atletico Madrid maintained their impressive unbeaten start to the season and moved level on points with Barcelona after a dramatic 2-1 victory over Malaga at the Vicente Calderon.

Radamel Falcao scored his eighth league goal of the season to put the home side ahead after six minutes before Roque Santa Cruz equalised with a powerful header.

With only two minutes remaining, Weligton diverted the ball into his own net to gift Diego Simeone’s side all three points.

Athletic Bilbao secured their second win of the campaign as Aduriz’s 12th-minute goal gave them a 1-0 victory over fellow strugglers Osasuna, while Granada made it two straight victories as they edged Mallorca 2-1.

Sun 7 October, 2012
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