MADRID: Gareth Bale staked his claim for a place in Real Madrid’s starting line-up in the Champions League Final by striking the equaliser in a 2-2 draw in El Clasico away to Barcelona in Nou Camp.

Barcelona, champions-elect, played half the match with 10 men after having Sergi Roberto sent off just before the interval.

Roberto has set up Luis Suarez to volley unbeaten Barcelona into the lead after 10 minutes only for Cristiano Ronaldo to equalise for the world and European champions five minutes later.

Ronaldo thus matched the record of the great Alfredo Di Stefano for Madrid goals against their old rivals but he also suffered an ankle in the process and was substituted at halftime.

Bale escaped punishment for a foul on Samuel Umtiti before Roberto was sent off moments later for hitting Marcelo after an off-the-ball tussle.

Lionel Messi scored a superb, record-extending 26th goal in the Clasico to put Barcelona back in front after 52 minutes but Bale then silenced Nou Camp with a powerful drive from the edge of the penalty area.

Madrid could have had a penalty when Jordi Alba caught Marcelo but Barcelona clung on to remain unbeaten in the league with three games to go. They have 87 points while Madrid are third with 72 after 35 games.

Madrid face Liverpool in the Champions League Final in Kiev on May 28.