Lionel Messi scores a hat-trick and Sergio Ramos is sent off as Barcelona beat Real Madrid 4-3 at the Bernabeu.
Barcelona blew the La Liga title race wide open when Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick in a 4-3 comeback win for the champions at 10-man Real Madrid in an action-packed ‘Clasico’.
Barca took a seventh-minute lead at Real’s Bernabeu stadium through Andres Iniesta before a Karim Benzema double and Messi’s first of the night made it 2-2 at half-time.
Cristiano Ronaldo put Real ahead from the penalty spot 10 minutes after the interval after he was tripped by Dani Alves. But the match turned when the Madrid captain, Sergio Ramos, was sent off in the 63rd minute for tripping Neymar in the penalty box.
Messi clipped home the resulting penalty to level at 3-3 and struck the winner from the spot six minutes from time after Iniesta was felled in the area.
With nine games left, Real have 70 points, level with city rivals Atletico Madrid.
Atletico beat Betis
Earlier, Atletico beat 10-man Real Betis 2-0 to take three points which, in the wake of Real’s loss, puts them joint top of La Liga.
The hard-fought contest was changed in the 55th minute when Betis’ Bryan Rodriguez was shown a second yellow card after swiping at the ball with his hand.
Three minutes later, Atleti’s Gabi Fernandez smashed in the first goal, a swerving drive 10m outside the area that evaded Betis goalkeeper Antonio Adan.
Diego Costa made it 2-0 in the 64th, his 23rd league goal and 31st in all competitions.
“We showed great calm knowing we only need to depend on ourselves in the title race, regardless of other results,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said.
Last-placed Betis are now nine points from safety.
Elsewhere, Sevilla beat Osasuna 2-1 for a fifth straight victory in their push for a Champions League place.
Villarreal’s European hopes however took a hit in a 2-1 defeat at Valencia.
Source : Al Jazeera