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Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino believes his side are firmly back in the La Liga title race after their crucial 4-3 win over Real Madrid in Sunday’s El Clasico.
The La Liga champions stay third with the win, but they are now just one point behind Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid in the league table.
Martino’s side took the lead in the fourth minute thanks to a powerful effort from Andres Iniesta, but they were pegged back thanks to Karim Benzema. The Frenchman scored two quick-fire goals to give Carlo Ancelotti’s side a 2-1 lead.
But they were pulled back just before half-time when Lionel Messi placed the ball home to send the team’s in level at 2-2.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s early penalty in the second-half put Madrid 3-2 in front but there was further controversy as Sergio Ramos was dismissed after bringing down Neymar inside the area.
Messi then stepped up to draw the team’s level once more, before Xabi Alonso fouled Iniesta inside the area with minutes to go.
The Argentinean stepped up to score his 26th career hat-trick, and after the game Martino was quick to praise his team and Messi.
“La Liga is not over,” Martino said. “We were given up for dead but with this result today we are right back in it. This was our last chance. We did not want to be left out.
“It’s difficult to talk about him (Messi). You run out of things to say. He is still breaking records. He plays so many great games, especially when it counts.”
Barcelona can now be backed at odds of 2.80 to lift the league title this year, with Real now 1.72 and Atletico Madrid 6.50.