Messi's 500th Barca goal sinks Real Madrid in thriller

In an incredible game, Messi levelled Casemiro's opener with attractive solo effort.

Lionel Messi blew the title race wide open with a brace as Barcelona beat 10-man Real Madrid 3-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday to reclaim top spot.

Real, who have one game in hand, lead second-placed Barca, champions for the past two years, by three points.

Messi scored his 499th goal for Barcelona with a superb individual effort on 33 minutes to cancel out Casemiro's opener for Madrid, with that effort making him the leading scorer in El Clasico in La Liga, surpassing Alfredo Di Stefano.

One of the most interesting things to see in the Clasico would be the defensive scenario.

Real Madrid took the lead after 28 minutes when Casemiro finished from close range after Ramos had hit the post from a free-kick.




Ivan Rakitic put Barcelona ahead with a powerful left-footed shot from outside the area in the 73rd, but Madrid still found the strength to equalize with substitute James Rodriguez in the 85th. It is an extra motivation to be able to catch up with Real Madrid. We're disappointed with the result.

They are also set to play the Champions League semifinal against city rivals Atletico Madrid on May 2 and 9, while Barcelona only have the Copa del Rey final at the end of the season to worry about. Real Madrid haven't gone a whole season unbeaten against Barcelona since 2012-13. "It seemed as if he had been playing with us all his life", enthused Barcelona's then assistant coach Henk Ten Cate.

The hosts completely dominated the early stages of the match, with Ronaldo and Karim Benzema both forcing saves out of opposition keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Ter Stegen was required once again soon after to keep out a bullet attempt from Luka Modric, moments before Gareth Bale hobbled off with another muscular problem to be replaced by nine-goal midfielder Marco Asensio. The youngster set up Ronaldo in the second period but the Portugal worldwide blasted over from close range. The team need to score more than Real Madrid at present.

Elsewhere, mid-table Celta Vigo followed their qualification for the semi-finals of the Europa League with a 1-0 home loss against Real Betis.

Brazilian striker Willian Jose scored in the first half and Real Sociedad held on to victory over Deportivo La Coruna to stay in contention for a Europa League spot next season.

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