Real Madrid 1 Barcelona 2: Tempers flare in fiery El Clasico as Barca draw first blood
Eric Abidal proved an unlikely matchwinner as Barcelona came from behind to beat Real Madrid in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final a the Bernabeu.
Cristiano Ronaldo answered his critics for his poor performance against Barcelona last month by scoring the opener after 11 minutes, picking up Karim Benzema's pass before driving past Gerard Pique and firing low past Jose Manuel Pinto.
Barcelona took control for the rest of the first period but could not find a way through as Alexis Sanchez's header came back off the post and Andres Iniesta fired wide when well-placed inside the area.
Gunning for you: Eric Abidal (left) celebrates scoring the winner for Barcelona
But four minutes into the second half they were level as Carles Puyol headed home Xavi's corner.
Iniesta and Benzema then saw efforts come back off the bar and post respectively before Abidal, who yesterday signed a one-year contract extension, latched on to Lionel Messi's excellent ball over the top to prod past Iker Casillas and score only his second goal in five seasons at the club.
Come on ref! Gerard Pique complains to the official after being shown a yellow card
Jose Mourinho surprised many by recalling Ricardo Carvalho after 21 games out through injury and handing Hamit Altintop only his third start as a Madrid player at right-back.
However, just as in the league clash between these two last month, it was the hosts who went ahead early on.
Opener: Cristiano Ronaldo (right) put Real Madrid in front against Barcelona
Ronaldo showed great pace to surge past Pique, but Pinto in the Barcelona goal was at fault as the ball crept between the keeper's legs on its way into the net.
Barcelona responded by dominating for the remainder of the first half.
False dawn: Real Madrid celebrate their goal but they couldn't prevent Barcelona hitting back
Sanchez headed Cesc Fabregas' cross off the inside of the post and Iniesta should have equalised when the Chilean found him free inside the area, but for once the Spain international's control deserted him and he couldn't squeeze the ball in from a tight angle.
Madrid held on until half time, but just minutes after the break the Catalans were deservedly level as Xavi's corner picked out the completely unmarked Puyol and his diving header gave Casillas no chance.
Leveller: Carles Puyol (partially hidden) sends a diving header into the back of the net to equalise
Moments later Iniesta nearly put the
visitors in front as more brilliant combination play between he and
Fabregas put the Barca number eight through just inside the area, but
Sergio Ramos got across to deflect his volley on to the bar.
Four minutes later it was Madrid who struck the woodwork as Altintop's cross was headed powerfully against the post by Benzema.
Crunch! As ever, there was no love lost between the two bitter rivals
With Madrid still struggling to create chances, Mourinho brought on Mesut Ozil and Jose Maria Callejon for Gonzalo Higuain and Lassana Diarra in the search of a winner.
Callejon's first contribution, however, was to get booked for a late challenge on Messi and Pepe was also lucky not to see a second yellow card directly after the foul as he appeared to stand on Messi's hand while the Argentinian was on the ground.
Jumping for joy: Barcelona celebrate after Puyol's headed them level against Madrid
Unusually it was Barca's set-pieces that were causing Madrid the most problems and from another Xavi free-kick Sergio Busquets headed just over when he should have found the target.
The winner did eventually arrive for Barcelona, though, and predictable Messi was heavily involved.
Messi escaped Madrid's pressure in the midfield and scooped a wonderful ball over the top for Abidal, who kept his cool to slot past Casillas.
Surprise, surprise: Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho found something to moan about to the referee