Cristiano Ronaldo's late penalty salvaged a point for Real Madrid as Saturday night's El Clasico clash with Barcelona in Primera Liga ended 1-1
The game got off to a scrappy start, with tackling flying in from both sides and Real defending deep whenever Barcelona had the ball.
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho had reportedly instructed his ground staff not to cut the grass at the Bernabeu and the extra length on the pitch clearly prevented Barca from passing the ball around as quickly as usual, although Pep Guardiola's side were still seeing the ball more often than their opponents and were comfortable in possession.
Real registered the first shot on goal when Cristiano Ronaldo's free-kick was comfortably saved by Victor Valdes.
Barca then broke forward after 18 minutes when Lionel Messi was played through and he tried to chip the ball over Iker Casillas only for the Real keeper to save.
The game really livened up shortly before the half-hour mark and Barcelona should have been awarded a penalty when David Villa was played through and got a touch on the ball to take it away from Casillas, who brought him down, only for the referee to wave away the appeals and book Gerard Pique for dissent.
Madrid found themselves unable to keep the ball for any period of time and although they had been solid defensively had offered little going forward, despite going close when Ronaldo saw his shot blocked.
And as the first half came to an end, it was the Primera Liga leaders who were arguably the better side against a Real Madrid side lacking ideas in the final third, with Messi forcing Casillas to save well on the stroke of half-time.
Real Madrid won a free-kick early after the restart which Ronaldo again went close with, with his striker coming off the outside of Valdes' post.
But then just seconds later, Barcelona broke and David Villa was brought down in the penalty area by Raul Albiol and a penalty was awarded. Lionel Messi stepped up and beat Casillas to put Barcelona 1-0 up in the 52nd minute, with Albiol being sent off for the foul, making it four red cards in the last four El Clasico games.
Barca were dealt a blow shortly after the game when captain Carles Puyol - playing for the first time since January after suffering with a knee injury - was forced off the field on a stretcher, with Seydou Keita replacing him.
Mourinho brought on Emmanuel Adebayor for Xabi Alonso as he urged his side forward, but Barca seemed happy enough to keep the ball wherever possibly and try and play on the counter-attack against 10 men.
And on 70 minutes, Barca should have gone 2-0 up when Messi picked up the ball with plenty of time and space and played in an unmarked Villa on the left of the penalty area, only for the Spain international to shoot weakly and straight at Casillas.
But at 1-0 down, Real Madrid were always in the game and they got their equaliser after 82 minutes when Dani Alves brought down Marcelo in the box with a penalty being awarded, which Cristiano Ronaldo fired home to make it 1-1.
Both sides pushed forward for a late winner but in the end had to settle for a point each as the first of four El Clasico games in the coming weeks ended 1-1, ensuring Barcelona remain eight points clear at the top of La Liga.