Mar 23, 2014, 4:48 PM EST
Lionel Messi’s late first half goal made him the all-time leading El Clasico goal scorer on Sunday, and he scored twice more in the second half for a hat trick in Barcelona’s 4-3 win over Real Madrid.
Barca struck first thanks to a perfectly-weighted pass from Messi that found Andres Iniesta at full stride, and he lashed a left-footed laser into the upper netting. It was a powerful strike that put the visitors ahead in the 7th minute.
Cristiano Ronaldo was harassed, banged and brutalized early as Barca looked to intimidate the Portuguese superstar, but he was still effective early.
Messi looked set to double Barca’s advantage in the 15th minute when the little Argentine made a brilliant onside run to set himself up to shoot, but his low shot streaked wide of the goal.
Madrid equalized before the clock struck 20, as Benzema headed Angel Di Maria’s cross off Victor Valdes outstretched hand and into the side netting. It was 1-1 and the Bernabeu was buzzing.
Di Maria was almost stretchered off after the play, but returned to the left flank. He fired a chest-high cross that Benzema took to feet before blasting past Valdes for a 2-1 Madrid lead in the 24th minute.
Benzema almost found a hat trick moments later, but Pique cleared the ball off the line.
Messi picked up a loose ball in the box and darted in a few steps before firing home with his left foot to tie the match 2-2. As Messi was celebrating his contribution to a 2-2 scoreline, there was chaos in the box as a confrontation led to a yellow card for Pepe, who went head-to-head with Cesc Fabregas. Plenty of play acting on the play.
Ronaldo scored on a penalty kick in the 54th minute after being brought down in the box to give Real Madrid a 3-2 lead, but Messi took over from there — and from the spot.
Sergio Ramos was sent off after bringing down Neymar in the box and Messi stepped up to finish the PK in the 65th minute. He completed the hat trick and the 4-3 win in the 84th minute after Xabi Alonso brought Iniesta down in the box. Messi fired his penalty kick over a diving Diego Lopez. The win puts Barcelona within one point of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid as La Liga’s title race heats up.
Nov 20, 2014, 3:39 PM EST
Whelan: “I think Jewish people do chase money more than everybody else. I don’t think that’s offensive at all.”
Nov 20, 2014, 3:02 PM EST
Details on Geoff Cameron’s exciting new role with ProSoccerTalk.
Nov 20, 2014, 2:31 PM EST
Review of FIFA’s corruption report ordered, as Qatar, Russia scrutinized once again.
Nov 20, 2014, 1:32 PM EST
You get your say. After MLS held talks with cities in California, Nevada and Minnesota, is this the right move for the league?
Nov 20, 2014, 12:37 PM EST
Van Gaal confirms new issue is bothering Falcao.
Nov 20, 2014, 12:02 PM EST
Blind was ruled out for six months by United’s Twitter account… but there’s been a twist.
Nov 20, 2014, 10:54 AM EST
Here are the finalists for MLS 2014 awards. Agree? Disagree?
Nov 20, 2014, 9:46 AM EST
Could United pay a PL record fee for a defender?
Nov 20, 2014, 8:39 AM EST
Giroud back a month ahead of schedule to hand Gunners massive boost.
Nov 20, 2014, 8:05 AM EST
Cech set for a move to the Emirates in January according to reports.
Nov 20, 2014, 7:27 AM EST
Lampard’s loan to Man City could be extended.
Nov 19, 2014, 11:45 PM EST
Ugly scenes in the Ivory Coast.
Nov 19, 2014, 11:01 PM EST
Wow, I love the internet.
Nov 19, 2014, 10:21 PM EST
How would Jozy fair in the French league?
Nov 19, 2014, 9:45 PM EST
Making the argument for Neuer.
Nov 19, 2014, 8:59 PM EST
Ready yourself for the MLS Expansion Draft, slated for December 10th.
Nov 19, 2014, 8:01 PM EST
Dave Whelan, once again proving himself a dinosaur.
Nov 19, 2014, 7:05 PM EST
Meet uncle Kenny Wilshere, Trudy Mertesacker and Darren Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Nov 19, 2014, 6:21 PM EST
Dan Kennedy is heading to FC Dallas. See where all 7 players selected in today’s draft are heading.
Nov 19, 2014, 5:39 PM EST
A 2-2 draw with South Africa sees Nigeria out of the African Cup of Nations finals.
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