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30 July 2017

Real Madrid 2 Barcelona 3: Lionel Messi delights fans as Gerard Pique scores winner in Miami El Clasico thriller

BARCELONA claimed the El Clasico bragging rights in Miami with a breathless win over Real Madrid.

Gerard Pique scored the second-half winner for the Catalan side in front of over 66,000 fans for the first Clasico outside Spain.

Neymar had an early scare when he went down under no contact and clutched at his foot
Neymar had an early scare when he went down under no contact and clutched at his foot
AFP
Lionel Messi gave Barcelona the lead in the third minute
Lionel Messi gave Barcelona the lead in the third minute
Getty Images
Lionel Messi celebrates after opening the scoring in the third minute
Lionel Messi celebrates after opening the scoring in the third minute
Getty Images

Lionel Messi was also on the score sheet to the delight of Barca fans inside the Hard Rock Stadium.

Both sides fielded strong line ups in the most eagerly awaited fixture of the International Cup pre-season tournament, and they didn’t disappoint.

It was constant action right from the off in Miami in a breathless encounter.

There was a moment of concern just two minutes in when Neymar stopped, fell to the ground and clutched his foot.

The Brazilian received treatment on the sidelines but jogged back onto the field to the delight of the Miami crowd that came to see the stars play.

The biggest star of all, Messi, opened the scoring inside three minutes with a signature clipped finish into the far corner.

Ivan Rakitic doubled Barcelona's lead with just seven minutes played in Miami
Ivan Rakitic doubled Barcelona’s lead with just seven minutes played in Miami
AP:Associated Press
Barcelona made a flying start to take an early two-goal lead
Barcelona made a flying start to take an early two-goal lead
Getty Images


Messi was Real Madrid‘s tormentor when they last met in April, scoring twice including a 92nd minute winner at the Bernabeu.

And the lead was doubled by Ivan Rakitic in a flying start for the Catalans that caught Zinedine Zidane’s men cold.

Missing Ronaldo on their US tour, the European champions looked devoid of ideas against both Manchester sides – losing their last game to City 4-1 in Los Angeles.

Neymar skips a challenge from Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro
Neymar skips a challenge from Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro
AP:Associated Press
Mateo Kovacic dragged one back for Real Madrid with an arrow in to the far corner
Mateo Kovacic dragged one back for Real Madrid with an arrow in to the far corner
AP:Associated Press
Marco Asensio scored Real Madrid's equaliser 10 minutes before half-time
Marco Asensio scored Real Madrid’s equaliser 10 minutes before half-time
EPA

Marco Asensio celebrates after equalising for Real Madrid in Miami
EPA

Marco Asensio celebrates after equalising for Real Madrid in Miami[/caption]

Barcelona could’ve had more than two goals at that as they sliced through the Real defence with ease.

Mateo Kovacic turned the tide when he dragged one back with an arrow into the far corner from the edge of the box.

It brought Real back into a game they looked to be second best in.

Zidane’s side found an unlikely equaliser too before the break when Marco Asensio fired home low and hard.

The Miami crowd got their money’s worth in an end-to-end first half, and the lack of defending helped the entertainment value.

Both managers rang the changes after the break after a half-time show from Marc Anthony.

Gerard Pique volleyed home the Barcelona winner early in the second half
Gerard Pique volleyed home the Barcelona winner early in the second half
Getty Images
Barcelona fans make themselves heard at the pre-season clash in Miami
Barcelona fans make themselves heard at the pre-season clash in Miami
Getty Images
Real Madrid supporters enjoy the occasion at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami
Real Madrid supporters enjoy the occasion at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami
AP:Associated Press

There was even a run out for forgotten man Thomas Vermaelen, whose Barcelona career never took off.

Pique scored what proved to be the winner when he was left in acres of space from a Neymar cross in the 50th minute.

The Spanish defender eased into the six-yard box unchallenged and unmarked to cushion a volley home and seal Miami glory for the Catalans.

The Clasico giants will meet again in the two-legged Spanish Super Cup on August 13 and 16.

Their first La Liga meeting doesn’t take place until December 20.

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic wants Neymar to stay at the club
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