Every Merengues fan at the Bernabeu on Sunday night must have sank back into their seats, when by the last kick of the game, Barcelona dealt the men in white a sucker punch - through none other than the South American football god, Lionel Messi.
Messi! Yes, the man small in stature, as compared to most of those he came up against on the day stole the show that night. Of all the arenas he could have done that, it was the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, the home of the arch enemies, and fortress to arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo who looked away in despair when the ball crossed the line.
Indeed the Bernabeu is a stadium of records. Ronaldo became the first man to score 100 in the Champions League history, and Messi scored his 500th for Barcelona there. And the celebration - a mockery to the Bernabeu faithful. He however deserves a lot of credit. He won his team the game with a wonderful equaliser and an equally good winner to take the Catalan giants level on points with the Los Blancos. He also won the personal duel with Ronaldo who neither scored nor assisted a goal on the night.
But where did Real go wrong in a game in which they started brightly?
Key to the result was the Sergio Ramos red card, which though I am a Madrid, was rightful. The card came at a time the team needed all its heroes on the pitch. You can imagine how many people were counting on Ramos time! It was by luck also that Casemiro did not see red for a second bookable challenge on the Blaugrana's no.10. With ten men, it was always going to be tough to claw back into the game against a team as good as Barcelona. The Madrid skipper had gotten into one of his 'not so often nowadays' moments of madness and he fell Messi who had skillfully driven the ball forward and was on his way past him. He could be forgiven surely for Messi was on fire.
For the winner, culpability lay with Marcelo who should have taken one for the team by thwarting Barca's counter attack through a foul. It did not matter what colour the card would be, it would mean a good result for Real Madrid. But the skillful Brazilian left-back chose fairplay and everyone saw the result. In my opinion, it was a mistake on his part.
With the season coming to an end, there is now no margin of error for the Galacticos who must win all their six remaining matches to win the title (if Barcelona win all their remaining five). As it stands, it looks like Madrid are going to get a run for their money. Hopefully no slip ups this season.