Messi's brace rallies Barca over Levante

Lionel Messi bagged two goals in an eight- minute stretch of the second half as Barcelona rallied to defeat Levante, 2-1, on Saturday at the Ciutat de Valencia in La Liga.

Jose Barkero converted a penalty in the first half for Levante, but Messi was on target in the 64th when he curled a shot in from the edge of the area, and added his second of the match and 41st of the season from the penalty spot.

Messi's second goal gave him a share of the scoring lead with Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and kept Barcelona within four points of Real Madrid ahead of the El Clasico next weekend at the Camp Nou.

Real downed Sporting Gijon, 3-1, in Saturday's other La Liga match.

Barca will first turn its focus to the Champions League semifinals and Chelsea on Wednesday for the first leg at Stamford Bridge in London.

Real Madrid 3, Sporting Gijon 1

Madrid, Spain - Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 41st La Liga goal of the season as Real Madrid rallied from an early deficit to defeat Sporting Gijon, 3-1, on Saturday at the Bernabeu.

Miguel de las Cuevas converted a penalty kick in the 30th minute as Gijon took a surprise lead, but Gonzalo Higuain tied the game in the 37th and Ronaldo put Real in front in the 74th. Karim Benzema added a third Real goal in the 82nd.

Real Madrid maintained its four-point cushion over Barcelona at the top of the standings ahead of next weekend's El Clasico at the Camp Nou pitting the best clubs and players in La Liga. Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi both have 41 goals this season.

Messi scored twice Saturday as Barca rallied for a 2-1 win over Levante.

Real Madrid will first turn its attention to the Champions League semifinals Tuesday at Bayern Munich for the first leg at the Allianz Arena.