Spanish La Liga: Real Madrid 3-4 FC Barcelona
Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick against Real Madrid to help Barcelona win 4-3 at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium last night and close the gap on La Liga leaders to just one point.
It was a seven-goals thriller Clásico full of chances for both sides and controversial calls made by referee Undiano Mallenco.
Andres Iniesta opened up the scoring after just 8 minutes when he received the ball from Messi wide open on the left side and fired past Diego Lopez.
But Los Blancos bounced back quickly with Benzema scoring twice. Di María was the most dangerous man for Real in the first half and assisted the French striker on both occasions.
Benzema had already missed some early chances but made no mistake when he headed home Di Maria’s cross in the 20th minute and made it 2-1 four minutes later when he volleyed another Di Maria pass.
But Messi, who had squandered a one-on-one situation earlier when the game was still 1-0, leveled matters before halftime when he picked up a loose ball inside the area to put it into the net.
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After the restart, Cristiano Ronaldo won a penalty following Dani Alves tackle in the 54th minute. Replays show the foul was outside the box but referee pointed to the spot and Cristiano restored the lead with a powerful low shot.
But Ancelotti’s joy was not meant to last long as he saw how Sergio Ramos clipped Neymar from behind after a magnificent Messi through ball and referee Mallenco had not doubt to point to the spot again. Ramos saw the red card and Messi stepped up to level the score once again.
Alves could have made it 4-3 moments later when he smashed the ball from outside the area only to see the ball coming back off the post.
Eventually Barca made the extra man count as Iniesta was fouled by Xabi Alonso inside the area and Messi completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot.
Atletico Madrid’s 2-0 victory over Real Betis earlier on Sunday put Simeone’s man top of the table level with Real Madrid and Barcelona now trailing both by just one point.
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