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Big Match: Barca Skinned Alive By Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winner before being sent off as Real Madrid earned a valuable 3-1 victory over bitter rivals Barcelona in the first-leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday.
Barca came closest in a lively opening 10 minutes at Camp Nou as Luis Suarez let fly a thumping effort from inside the area, although Keylor Navas was well positioned to make a strong save.

Gareth Bale then looked to have gotten in behind via a long ball over the top but the Welshman seemed to lack the strength to hold off Samuel Umtiti, who managed to wrestle away possession before winning a foul to relieve the pressure.

At the other end, Lionel Messi had the home fans on their feet as he curled a free-kick just over the crossbar from 30 yards out, although credit to Navas who seemed to have had the angle cover.

The game was proving end to end and the Galacticos came close shortly before half-time as Bale saw his first-time hit excellently pushed over by Marc-Andre ter Stegen following a swift break-away from the visitors.

With just over 49 minutes gone on the clock, the Catalans gifted their rivals the opening goal as Gerard Pique could only turn Marcelo’s low delivery past a helpless Ter Stegen and into the back of his own net.

Real Madrid looked for all the world like the would double their lead five minutes later as Karim Benzema danced his way through the area before cutting the ball back across the face of goal for Dani Carvajal, whose shot was somehow kept out point-blank at the far-post.

The introduction of Cristiano Ronaldo added even more pep to Madrid’s step and the Portugal international thought he had scored their second and firing home at the far post, although his celebrations were cut short by the off-side flag.

With 15 minutes remaining, Barcelona were handed a life line as the referee adjudged Navas to have upended Suarez in the area, although replays showed contact was minimal at best and suggest the Uruguayan had hoodwinked the officials.

Lionel Messi stepped up to smartly convert the resulting penalty, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way before smartly nestling the ball in the bottom corner.

However, the teams weren’t level for long as Madrid stormed back into the lead through superstar striker Ronaldo, who started a swift counter attack with a chest down in his own half before rounding the move off with a sublime curling effort into the top corner of the net.

The Portuguese’s evening ended on a sour note, though, as he earned a second yellow card for what the referee deemed simulation in the box, ruling him out of the return leg, while he potentially faces further sanctions after an apparent shove in the referee’s back following his dismissal.

However, Zinedine Zidane's men kept their heads and ensured they would go into the return fixture with three away goals as Marco Asensio produced some late magic, rifling an unstoppable drive past the keeper and into the top corner just before the 90.

The two sides will now resume hostilities in the second-leg at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.

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