Gareth Bale hit a sublime equaliser for Real Madrid against champions Barcelona, who survived playing with 10 men for 45 minutes to move to within three games of going the entire La Liga season undefeated.
Sergi Roberto was shown a straight red card with the score 1-1 at the end of the first half of an ill-tempered El Clasico after he appeared to slap Real defender Marcelo.
Roberto had earlier provided the cross for an unmarked Luis Suarez to fire the hosts into the lead before Cristiano Ronaldo bundled the equaliser after Karim Benzema’s downward header.
Lionel Messi put the champions 2-1 ahead on the counter-attack only for Bale to level with a sweetly struck first-time finish.
Real’s Ronaldo was substituted at half-time after suffering an ankle sprain while scoring.
This draw felt like a win for Barcelona, who stay 15 points ahead of their arch-rivals despite Roberto’s dismissal.
Champions League finalists Real have now failed to beat Barca in the past four league attempts and their frustrations increased when they were denied a clear penalty after Jordi Alba caught Marcelo.
The tone for another bad-tempered game between these two giants was set when Real refused to give Barca a guard of honour after Ernesto Valverde’s side secured a 25th La Liga title last weekend.
Instead Valverde and his backroom team lined up to applaud the players off the pitch at the end of a match littered with eight yellow cards.
No team in the modern era of La Liga has managed to go through an entire season undefeated yet Barca are now 270 minutes away from achieving that feat.
They still have to negotiate home games against Villarreal and Real Sociedad, along with an away match against Levante, but it will require something special to end their 42-match unbeaten league record stretching 13 months.