Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick as Barcelona recorded a crucial victory in a thrilling El Clasico at the Bernabeu.
Four points behind their opponents at the start of play, Barca came into the game knowing that they needed a win to boost their football betting odds and couldn’t afford to slip to a defeat at the home of the La Liga leaders. However, thanks to Messi’s treble, the visitors came out on top in an amazing game that included seven goals and a sending off.
Barcelona made the better start to the match and they went ahead after just seven minutes as Andres Iniesta broke clear and fired a powerful shot into the top corner of the net. However, they were not in front for long as Real turned the game, and the El Clasico betting, on it’s head with two goals in four minutes by Karim Benzema. The first of those goals came in the 20th minute when Benzema rose to head in an Angel di Maria cross and eh then doubled the lead with a neat finish from close range after receiving the ball form di Maria once again.
The football betting odds were starting to swing in Real’s favour but Barcelona forced their way back into contention and drew level in the closing minutes of the first half as Messi burst onto the ball in the box and fired a low shot into the back of the net.
With the score 2-2 at the beginning of the second half, it looked like the game could still go either way. However, ten minutes after the break, the El Clasico betting still seemed to favour a home win as Real regained the lead with a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty after the Portuguese star had been tripped in the area by Dani Alves.
Things seemed to be going Real’s way as the second half progressed but the course of the game changed after a crucial decision in the 63rd minute when Sergio Ramos was judged to have brought down Neymar while he was through on goal. It was a debatable decision as there seemed to be limited contact between the players but the referee was convinced and showed Sergio Ramos a red card while also awarding Barca a penalty. Messi slotted home the penalty and suddenly the El Clasico betting started to move in the away team’s favour.
The match remained level until late in the game but, just as it seemed to be heading for a draw, Barcelona were awarded another penalty after Iniesta was brought down in the box. Messi confidently placed his penalty into the top corner of the net to claim the 28th hat-trick of his career. It was also a goal that helped make Messi the second top scorer in La Liga history and the top scorer in El Clasico games.
That proved to be the final goal of a frantic contest and so Barcelona claimed a win that moved them to within a point of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at the top of the table. With things so close now at the top of the La Liga table, the football betting odds suggest that the title race will go down to the wire. However, despite losing this game, Real are still favourites to lift the title.
Real Madrid go into this weekend’s El Clasico match with Barcelona as firm favourites in the football betting odds to win the La Liga title and end Barcelona’s dominance over the Spanish game, which has seen them finish top in four of the last five years.
Real Madrid have a three point advantage over Atletico Madrid and are a point further ahead of Barcelona, who sit third in the La Liga table ahead of this weekend’s key fixture. The El Clasico betting suggests it will be a tight game, but Barcelona perhaps need the points more in order to close the gap at the top.
Real Madrid won away at Malaga at the weekend to preserve their lead at the summit of La Liga and comfortably beat FC Schalke in the Champions League on Tuesday to stretch their unbeaten run to 31 games in all competitions. Cristiano Ronaldo scored in both matches and now has 41 for the season.
Their last defeat, back in October, was at the Camp Nou, but since then Madrid have gone on an amazing run which, if extended at the weekend, will put them firmly in control at the top of the table and on course to reclaim the title from Barcelona.
Real Madrid may be strong favourites to win back the Spanish league title in the football betting odds, but a Barcelona win at the Bernabeu this weekend would reduce the gap between the teams to just a single point.
Barcelona beat Manchester City 4-1 on aggregate to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League before putting seven past Osasuna at the weekend. Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick in that game, putting the Argentinian further ahead as the club’s all-time leading scorer in all competitions.
However, Barcelona’s last two away games in La Liga have ended in defeat, at Real Sociedad and Real Valladolid, and a third this weekend would effectively end their title hopes. So only a win will do as they seek to overturn the El Clasico betting and win at the home of their greatest rivals.
The last meeting between the sides, in October, was the last time Madrid tasted defeat. Goals from Neymar and Alexis Sanchez gave Barcelona a 2-1 victory, with Madrid’s consolation coming from Jese Rodriguez.
The teams met six times last season, twice in the league, twice in the Copa del Rey and twice in the Spanish Super Cup. Real Madrid had the best of the exchanges. In La Liga, the teams drew 2-2 at the Camp Nou, but Madrid won 2-1 at the Bernabeu, with Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos scoring for the home side and Lionel Messi getting Barcelona’s goal. That game came just days after Madrid’s Copa del Rey triumph, with two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo putting Madrid on their way to a 4-2 aggregate win and a place in the final. Earlier in the season, Real Madrid won the Super Cup on away goals after the tie ended 4-4 overall.
Real Madrid rested some players against Schalke in midweek, including striker Karim Benzema, who suffered a thigh injury in the win over Malaga. He should be back in contention for the weekend. Gareth Bale had been on the bench for the Champions League fixture, but was forced into action early in the game due to a serious injury to Jese Rodriguez, who is set to miss the rest of the season with cruciate damage to his knee.
Barcelona defenders Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol missed the Osasuna victory with injury, but both should come back into contention for the Madrid game. In their absence, Javier Mascherano and Marc Bartra have been at the heart of the defence and both will be hoping to keep their places for the El Clasico fixture.
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