El Clasico marred by violence, ends in a draw

El Clasico marred by violence, ends in a draw

Barcelona supporters wave a banner reading Freedom during the El Clasico on Wednesday. AFP

Barcelona and Real Madrid could not be separated on Wednesday in a Clasico that was overshadowed by violent clashes between Catalan independence protestors and police outside Camp Nou.

After being postponed in October, there were renewed fears of unrest around Spain’s most famous fixture and while the match was only briefly interrupted by yellow beach balls thrown onto the pitch, outside the stadium, chaos ensued.

Masked protesters had set bins on fire and thrown rocks and glass bottles at police, who responded by firing foam bullets. Forty-six people were lightly injured, including eight who needed to be taken to a medical centre for extra care, local emergency services said.

The protesters, many of them carrying Catalan separatist flags, began setting up barricades in the middle of the street which they then burned, after police arrived in dozens of police vans.

Inside the stadium, the match passed largely undisturbed. The game was less eventful than expected, with neither Barcelona nor Real ever really at their best and both, perhaps in the end, happier not to win than to lose.