Lionel Messi almost scores from a corner but is frustrated by the post as Barcelona lose to Real Madrid in crucial El Clasico

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Lionel Messi came close to scoring directly from a corner during Barcelona’s 2-1 El Clasico defeat to Real Madrid on Saturday.

The game was billed as one of the most crucial Clasicos in recent times with the three-horse LaLiga title race, which also includes Atletico Madrid, currently hanging in the balance.

Madrid took the lead early on through Karim Benzema.

On 13 minutes, Federico Valverde drove forwards and played the ball out wide to Lucas Vazquez.

The cross was immaculate and Benzema flicked in with a backheel at the near post.

Toni Kroos doubled the lead on 28 minutes and Madrid were firmly in control.

At the end of the first half, Messi almost pulled one back with a quite remarkable effort.

The living legend whipped a corner over the head of Thibaut Courtois, only to see it bounce out off the far post.

Oscar Mingueza did get a goal for Barca in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to salvage a result.

Casimero was sent off in the final minutes, but Madrid still saw out the 2-1 win.

The triumph for the hosts saw Zinedine Zidane’s side move top of LaLiga on goal difference, having played a game more than Atletico Madrid.

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