Real Madrid and Barcelona played out a goalless draw – the first time in the last 50 El Clasico matches that no goal was scored – as the Catalans maintained the top spot in the La Liga standings on the basis of goal difference.

Gareth Bale managed to put the ball in the back of the net early into the second half but the referee blew his whistle for a narrow offside, meaning it was the first time since November 2002 that Barca-Real game ended scoreless.

While action unfolded on the field, there was unrest outside as nearly 46 people were reportedly injured. The match, originally scheduled to take place on October 26, was postponed due to political tension in Catalonia with two separate leaders sentenced lengthy jail sentences, leading to protests. Play was stopped for a brief period in the second half when beach balls were thrown on the ground.

As for the match, Real appeared a more confident side firing as many as 12 shots towards the Barca goal but failed to apply the finishing touches. Both Real and Barcelona are on 36 points from 17 matches each.

“Today we saw a great Real Madrid side with a lot of character which is exactly the image we wanted to give. We went out to try and take the ball off them and we created a lot of chances,” he told reporters,” Sergio Ramos said. “We watched the penalty appeals at half-time and they seemed pretty clear, they are both penalties but we can’t change that. VAR is there to help but today we didn’t get that bit of luck.”

The closest Madrid came, barring the Bale effort, was when a threatening-looking header from Casemiro was shrugged off by Gerard Pique. Besides, Real had two appeals for penalty but both were avoided with Barca opting for the Video Assistant Referee.

“On the pitch I wasn’t sure, but when we saw Varane’s leg at half-time and the video, there were no doubts that it was a penalty. We go home a bit angry because at least they could have looked at it again. Then you can give a penalty or not, but at least look at it.”

Barcelona were pretty much contained to the centre of the pitch, although there was a moment when Lionel Messi looked like breaking the deadlock in the first half. He fired a shot at the goal but a diving Ramos was able to block it.

“Real Madrid had a lot of chances in the first half, it was tough for us but then we had a few opportunities. It was a game that could have been decided by the odd goal but it wasn’t to be,” midfielder Ivan Rakitic said. “We’re happy with how we played, but we just lacked that final touch of quality.”