24 Mar 2014

Barca win at Real to blow La Liga title race wide open

11:19 am on 24 March 2014

A Lionel Messi hattrick has lifted Barcelona to a thrilling 4-3 win over a 10-man Real Madrid in an action packed El Clasico football match at the Bernabeu.

Barca took a seventh-minute lead through Andres Iniesta before a Karim Benzema double and Messi's first of the night made it 2-all at the break.

Cristiano Ronaldo put Real ahead from the penalty spot 10 minutes after half-time after he was tripped by Dani Alves and the match turned when home captain Sergio Ramos was sent off for tripping a goalbound Neymar in the 63rd minute.

It was Ramos' 19th career red card.

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.

Barca's win blows the La Liga title race wide open.

With nine games left, Real have 70 points, level with city neighbours Atletico Madrid, who won 2-0 at bottom side Real Betis, and one ahead of third-placed Barcelona.