La Liga wrap: Penalties seal Clasico draw

Cristiano Ronaldo’s 81st minute penalty has given Real Madrid a point in a 1-1 draw with Barcelona in La Liga on Sunday.The much-awaited El Clasico got off to a slow start at the Bernabeu, but picked up considerably in a dramatic second half, with Barca taking the lead after 53 minutes thanks to a Lionel Messi penalty after David Villa was brought down in the area.

Real Madrid’s Raul Albiol was sent off for the challenge but the hosts, down to 10 men, fought back and snatched a point with Ronaldo’s spot-kick eight minutes from time.

Angel Di Maria and Ronaldo had the best chances of the first half for the hosts, while Messi was proving a threat for the visitors and David Villa could have had a penalty when Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas appeared to bring him down in the area.

Ronaldo then hit the upright with a dipping free-kick, the match turned when when Albiol tackled Villa to the ground and conceded an obvious penalty.

Messi converted for his 30th La Liga goal this season, despite Casillas getting a hand on the ball, and the lead could have been doubled when Xavi’s ball from the right clipped the top of the crossbar nine minutes after the goal.

The red card did not deter Real who continued to push forward, and the hosts earned a penalty when Dani Alves fouled Marcelo with a lunging challenge to hand Ronaldo a spot kick, which he duly dispatched.

Alves received his second yellow card for the challenge, but neither side could find a winner in the remaining 10 minutes, leaving Barcelona eight points clear on top of the league.

The two sides will now meet in the Copa del Rey final on April 20, before a two-legged Champions League semi-final.

In other matches, Getafe snapped a horror run of form with a 1-0 triumph over fifth-placed Sevilla.

Getafe entered the match sitting just two places above the relegation zone and with just one win in their last 16 matches in all competitions.

But that all changed as the relegation-threatened side jumped to 12th thanks to Miku’s 76th minute strike, which dents Sevilla’s chances of catching Villarreal in fourth.

Elsewhere, second-half goals to Roberto Soldado, Marius Stankevicius and Jordi Alba saw Valencia win 3-0 at bottom-side Almeria, while a Julio Baptista double helped Malaga to a 3-0 home win against Mallorca.

The win sees Malaga just goal difference away from exiting the relegation zone.