El Clasico: Messi's hat-trick takes F.C. Barcelona to 4-3 win over Real Madrid
Barcelona moved to within a point of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga as they twice came from behind thanks to a Lionel Messi hat-trick to edge a thrilling El Clasico 4-3 at the Santiago Bernabeu. (All images from AFP)
The game got off to a blistering start as after Neymar and Benzema had early efforts easily saved, Barca opened the scoring when Messi played in Andres Iniesta (in pic) behind the Real defence and the Spanish international smashed the ball in off the underside of the bar.
Karim Benzema, then scored twice in quick succession in 20th and 24th minute to give hosts the lead.
Lionel Messi's first goal came in the 42nd minute.
Cristiano Ronalo scored via penalty in the 55th minute and later saw his teammate Sergio Ramos controversially red carded. Ronaldo, after the match, had criticised the referee, saying he was not up to the El Clasico standard.
Messi, then converted two penalties in the 65th and the 84th minute to complete a hat-trick and become the highest scorer for Barcelona in El Clasico history.