Barcelona's Lionel Messi scores the winner in the 3-2 victory over Real Madrid.
Barcelona's Lionel Messi scores the winner in the 3-2 victory over Real Madrid. Francisco Seco

500 for Messi as Barca snatches late win in El Clasico

FOOTBALL: Superstar Lionel Messi scored his 500th goal for Barcelona to send the Catalan giant top of La Liga following a 3-2 win over Real Madrid in El Clasico.

The Argentinian's second goal of the night sealed the three points to put Barca on top on goal difference although Real has a game in hand.

Casemiro scored first for the hosts before Messi and Ivan Rakitic put Barcelona in front.

The visitors seemed to be in control after Madrid captain was sent off for a wild two-footed lunge on Messi with 13 minutes left.

But James Rodriguez appeared to have earned Madrid a point late on before Messi had the final say.

Messi scored his first with a superb jinking run and finish and then fired in from the edge of the area to win it for Barcelona.

The Barca star and Cristiano Ronaldo had earlier missed good opportunities to give their sides the lead, with Real also feeling it should have had a penalty when Ronaldo was clipped by Samuel Umtiti after only two minutes.

"We are first now but Madrid have an extra game," Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said.

"It will be tight down till the end. We got the result we came here for.

"This is a season that weighs (on us) like five.

"So many things have happened, good things, not so good things, things I've already forgotten.

"The 2-2 (goal) was a terrible blow but players were able to come back in the last breath -- the happy ending that we all wanted at Barcelona."

News Corp Australia

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