It wasn't a classic in the Clásico but the two best players in the world's class told as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi both struck twice to earn Barcelona and Real Madrid a draw.
Barça, bereft of both Gerard Piqué and Carles Puyol, were so decimated that Queens Park Rangers' Clint Hill and Anton Ferdinand may have been welcome. But José Mourinho may well curse Karim Benzema and Angel Di María after the duo squandered great chances after Ronaldo gave Madrid the lead.
Messi poached to equalise for a 1-1 scoreline at half-time before he returned in the second period to execute his second superb free-kick of the season against Los Blancos.
Ronaldo, having scored six in two games over the past week, wasn't to be denied however. He evaded the Blaugrana's offside trap five minutes later to slot his shot past Victor Valdés and prevent Real falling 11 points behind their enemy.