Barcelona celebrate La Liga title with victory over Atletico Madrid
Second-placed Real Madrid drew 1-1 at Espanyol to ensure title for the Catalans
Barcelona’s Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas, Jordi Alba and Marc Bartra celebrate at the end of their match against Atletico Madrid at Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid on Sunday. Photograph: Reuters
A bizarre own-goal from Atletico Madrid captain Gabi helped newly-crowned La Liga champions Barcelona celebrate as they recovered to win 2-1 at the Calderon last night.
Radamel Falcao had threatened to spoil Barca’s title party when he struck in the 51st minute, but Alexis Sanchez levelled in the 72nd before David Villa’s miscued shot was diverted into his own net by Gabi eight minutes later.
Barca had to play with 10 men for the last 20 minutes after Lionel Messi was forced to leave the pitch with a possible recurrence of his hamstring injury after manager Tito Vilanova had already made his three substitutions.
The Catalans, left with an unassailable lead at the top of the standings on Saturday when second-placed Real Madrid drew 1-1 at Espanyol, moved 10 points clear at the top on 91. With three games left, Barca have a chance to match Real’s record 100 points tally for a season from last year.
Jose Mourinho fielded a weakened team with one eye on next Friday’s King’s Cup final against Atletico Madrid, Real’s last chance for major silverware this season. Cristian Stuani gave Espanyol the lead after 28 minutes, and although Gonzalo Higuain equalised in the 58th it was not enough to stop Barca securing the league trophy.
Meanwhile, Roberto Soldado scored twice yesterday to keep Valencia in the running for a return to the Champions League next season in a 4-0 victory at Rayo Vallecano.