Sunday 18 March 2018 / 05:04 AM

Barcelona Win La Liga

Barcelona were confirmed as La Liga champions on Saturday evening after Real Madrid’s 1-1 draw against Espanyol ended any faint doubts about the destination of the Spanish title.

The result left Los Merengues seven points adrift of their Catalan rivals with only two games left to play, meaning Barca could go into their Sunday night clash with Atletico safe in the knowledge that they had already secured their 22nd top flight triumph.

Their relief perhaps influenced a rather lacklustre display at Vicente Calderon and they fell behind six minutes into the second period when the much sought after Colombian Falcao gave the hosts the lead.

Like many other times during the campaign however, Barcelona’s class shone through and they put the seal on their league success with a 1-2 victory courtesy of a goal from Alexis Sanchez and an error from Madrid defender Gabi who diverted past his own keeper.

It had been a difficult week for Tito Villanova’s men following their collapse at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League; nevertheless, celebrations can now begin on the domestic front for Barca having blown away the rest of the competition in Spain to earn a thoroughly deserved championship.

Meanwhile, the race is still on at the bottom of the division to maintain top flight status going into next season and Real Zaragoza continue to keep their heads above relegation waters following a hard fought 0-0 draw at Levante on Friday.

The final Champions League berth is still up for grabs in Spain and Real Sociedad will seek to consolidate their fourth place on Monday evening when they take on Granada in San Sebastian.

In Germany, Bayern Munich got their hands on the Bundesliga trophy and capped off their domestic season in fine style with a brilliant 3-0 win over Augsburg, keeping momentum well and truly motoring ahead of their Champions League final showdown with Borussia Dortmund who contrastingly stumbled to a 3-3 draw at Wolfsburg.

Champions Juventus appeared to let complacency get the better of them in Serie A after drawing 1-1 in Turin against Cagliari, but the Bianconeri will bother little having already proven themselves resoundingly successful over the previous 36 games.

The race for European spots is also still wide open in Italy and Napoli and Fiorentina continued their strong form with victories over Siena and Palermo respectively.

Marseille kept up the heat on league leaders PSG in France after beating Bordeaux 2-1, with Carlo Ancelotti’s side set for a crucial battle late on Sunday evening against Lyon at Stade Gerland.

Elsewhere, Eredivisie kings Ajax rounded off their triumphant season with a 0-2 result at Groningen, whilst in Portugal, Porto’s struck late at Estadio Dragao to sink enemies Benfica and take charge at the top of the table with one game remaining.

Kelvin’s last gasp effort meant that the hosts leapfrogged the Europa League finalists whose confidence must surely have been dented ahead of their showdown against Chelsea in Amsterdam next week.

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Chris Kisby

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