Barca beat Espanyol, one win away to be Champions in Spain
Updated: 2016-05-09 09:44
MADRID -- Football Club Barcelona are one win away from retaining the BBVA Primera Liga table after beating Espanyol 5-0 on a dramatic afternoon in Spain where the race for the title was reduced to a head to head between Barca and Real Madrid.
Barcelona's Luis Suarez celebrates his second goal. [Photo/Agencies]
Leo Messi opened the scoring in a bad tempered game after just 8 minutes when he curled home a stunning free kick from outside of the area.
Luis Suarez put the result beyond doubt with goals in the 52nd and 60th minute with a sharp finish from a Messi pass and a header from a corner. An error from Espanyol keeper Pau allowed Rafinha to side-foot home the fourth and then Suarez set up Neymar to make it 5-0.
If Barcelona win away to Granada next weekend they will be Champions, however, Real Madrid kept the pressure on with a 3-2 win at home to Valencia.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema scored first half goals as Real Madrid cruised into a 2-0 lead by the break. Ronaldo opened the scoring after 25 minutes with a shot he created from virtually nothing and although Benzema' s goal looked to be offside, a disappointing Valencia could have few complaints about the halftime score.
Rodrigo briefly gave Valencia hope with a 55th minute goal, but that hope lasted the four minutes Ronaldo needed to score his second of the game to make it 3-1.
Andre Gomes gave the game some late drama with Valencia' s second goal nine minutes from time but after Rodrigo was sent off two minutes later Valencia had no chance of levelling the score.
Atletico Madrid, however, saw their challenge fall at the penultimate hurdle as they surprisingly lost 2-1 away to already relegated Levante.
Fernando Torres put Atletico Madrid ahead before the second minute but perhaps feeling the pace after their intense Champions League tie on Tuesday night, Atletico sat back and were punished by Victor Casadesus' equalizing goal on the half hour.
The game looked to be heading for a draw which would have given Atletico hope going into the last game of the season, but Giuseppe Rossi' s last minute goal caused one of the upsets of the season Deportivo la Coruna won 2-0 away to Villarreal to assure their Primera Liga survival while Granada pulled off a 'surprise' 4-1 win away to Sevilla to assure they miraculously evade the drop for another season.
Getafe and Sporting Gijon are both in trouble after a 1-1 draw which perhaps favors Getafe more than Sporting as they have their survival in their own hands in the last game of the season. Meanwhile Sporting have to win and cross their fingers as Rayo Vallecano missed several chances while losing 2-1 to Real Sociedad.
Celta move into fifth place after a 1-0 win at home to Malaga, while Athletic Club Bilbao could only draw 0-0 away to Las Palmas who said goodbye to retiring hero, Juan Carlos Valeron, who is hanging up his boots aged 41.
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