Mar 23, 2014 at 8pm UK at ​Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
Real Madrid
Benzema (20', 24'), Ronaldo (55' pen.)
di Maria (35'), Pepe (43'), Alonso (85'), Ronaldo (85'), Modric (88')
Ramos (63')
FT(HT: 2-2)
Iniesta (7'), Messi (42', 65', 84')
Fabregas (43'), Busquets (66')

Result: Lionel Messi scores three as Barcelona beat Real Madrid in thriller

Lionel Messi scores a hat-trick as Barcelona beat Real Madrid 4-3 in a thrilling El Clasico encounter.

Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick to give new life to Barcelona's title challenge this evening as they beat fierce rivals Real Madrid 4-3 in a thrilling El Clasico.

The visitors struck first, taking the lead after just seven minutes when Messi slipped a pass through to Andres Iniesta, who took a touch before blasting his effort into the top corner.

Barcelona's Andres Iniesta celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Real Madrid in the La Liga match on March 23, 2014© AFP

Madrid had a chance to restore parity in the 14th minute when Angel di Maria carved out a chance for Karim Benzema, but the French striker's effort was high and wide of the mark.

Barca were the next to come close as Xavi fed the ball through to Messi, but for once the Argentine was not on target, slipping his shot just past the post.

Messi then turned provider to set up a chance for Neymar, but the Brazilian failed to take it and was immediately punished as Madrid went up the other end and equalised through a Benzema header.

Benzema doubled his personal tally just four minutes later, firing an effort into the top corner having once again been found by Di Maria.

Real's Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring his team's second goal against Barcelona in the La Liga match on March 23, 2014© AFP

The same duo combined again in the 26th minute as Benzema came within inches of a six-minute hat-trick only to see his header cleared off the line by Gerard Pique.

The visitors were level before half time as Messi got his first of the evening, dancing into the box before drilling a low shot past Diego Lopez.

Benzema almost capped off a thrilling first half with a header from a Daniel Carvajal's cross right on the stroke of half time, but his effort went just wide.

The French striker came close yet again eight minutes after the restart as he latched on to Gareth Bale's pass before being denied by a good save from Victor Valdes.

Valdes could do nothing about Madrid's third, however, as Cristiano Ronaldo fired a penalty past the keeper, having been controversially awarded the spot kick following a tangle with Dani Alves.

Real's Karim Benzema celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's first goal against Barcelona in the La Liga match on March 23, 2014© AFP

It was almost four for the hosts on the hour mark as Benzema flicked the ball on to Bale, but the Welshman was denied by Valdes.

The turning point came just three minutes later as Sergio Ramos was adjudged to have pulled down Neymar inside the box, resulting in a penalty and a red card for the Spanish defender. Messi stepped up and made no mistake with his spot kick to level the scores.

Barcelona'sLionel Messi celebrates after scoring his team's second goal against Real Madrid in the La Liga match on March 23, 2014© AFP

Barca came within inches of taking the lead again with 15 minutes left of the match as Alves smashed an effort towards goal, only to see it come back off the post.

Messi completed his hat-trick with just six minutes remaining as Barca were awarded a second penalty for a foul by Xabi Alonso on Iniesta, allowing the Argentine to fire home the winning goal from 12 yards.

Real's Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring his team's second goal against Barcelona in the La Liga match on March 23, 2014
Read Next:
Half-Time Report: Madrid, Barca level in El Clasico
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