Barcelona Comeback In Vain As Real Seal La Liga Title

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is carried by his players as they celebrate winning La Liga.

Reuters / Jon Nazca

Real Madrid clinched their first La Liga title in 5 years by beating Malaga 2-0, even as Barcelona made a thrilling comeback to beat Eibar 4-2. The Catalans needed to win, and Real to lose to capture a third consecutive league title, but it was not to be, as Zinedine Zidane’s men did their job.

Barca were playing at the Camp Nou, and after a run of 11 consecutive wins, they were favourites to win. But Eibar didn’t seem to care for stats, as they stunned the home side with a 7th minute strike from Takashi Inui, the ball finding the underside of the crossbar before going in. Luis Suarez missed two great chances to level, with Eibar keeper Yoel proving the hero. Lionel Messi also spurned a chance when he shot wide from six yards.

Inui added one more, again off the frame of the goal, to leave home fans distraught. This spurred the Catalans to life, however, and they forced David Junca to put one into his own net in the 63rd minute. An award-worthy dive from Jordi Alba won Barcelona a penalty, but Yoel heroically saved Messi’s spot kick. Suarez later atoned for his earlier misses and leveled the scoreline within three minutes of this.

Messi had one more chance at redemption, after Neymar was fouled by Ander Capa inside the box. Capa was also sent off, adding to the visitor’s troubles. The Argentine made no mistake with his penalty this time, and added one more goal to his tally with a solo run late on, and sealed the win for Barca.

The comeback only proved to be a good viewing, though, as Real Madrid clinched the La Liga with a win over Malaga. Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema scored for Los Blancos in a match that they had to win to ensure title victory.

Hosts Malaga themselves were to blame for the first goal. Luis Hernandez gifted the ball to Isco, who threaded a near perfect through-ball to Ronaldo. The Portuguese, who has been in fine form off late, showed the same by rounding off Carlos Kameni and rolling the ball into the empty net. Sandro Ramirez had a chance to equalise in the 12th minute, but his low shot was saved by Keylor Navas. Ramirez could have picked out any of handful of Malaga players waiting for a cross.

Real’s keeper seemed determined to put up a good showing in the last league game of the season. He made a brave save from a Sandro free-kick, turning the ball around the post with one hand before taking a blow to the ribs as he collided with the post. His counterpart Kameni also seemed equally determined, saving from Ronaldo in the 33rd minute, and then from Toni Kroos moments later to keep the home side in the game.

Real doubled their lead 10 minutes after the restart. Sergio Ramos’ shot from Kroos’ corner was saved by Kameni, and the rebound fell to Benzema off Raphael Varane. The French striker bundled the ball into the net, and sparked wild celebrations from the traveling fans.  Navas prevented Ignacio Camacho from bringing Malaga back into the match almost immediately, and Real saw the match out from there.

The final whistle gave Zidane’s men their first league title in five years and the chance of a double. They face Juventus in the final of the Champions League, looking to win their 12th European title.


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