Madrid, May 15 (IANS) FC Barcelona clinched the La Liga title with four games left this season, thanks to a 4-2 win away against local rivals Espanyol on Sunday night.
Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring after just 10 minutes, and Alejandro Balde doubled the lead with a far-post volley nine minutes later before Lewandowski’s second of the match made it 3-0 before halftime, reports Xinhua.
Jules Kounde headed home Barca’s fourth eight minutes into the second half, and although Javi Puado pulled a goal back for Espanyol in the 73rd minute and Joselu netted a second in injury time, it was too little too late for Espanyol, who remain second from bottom of the table.
The result leaves Xavi Hernandez’s side with 84 points from 34 matches: a 14-point lead over second-place Real Madrid and 16 points more than Atletico Madrid in third.
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti made seven changes ahead of next week’s Champions League semifinal return leg away to Manchester City for Saturday’s 1-0 win at home against Getafe.
A far-from-vintage Madrid display was decided in their favor thanks to Marco Asensio’s 69th-minute goal, but Madrid lost Eduardo Camavinga to injury.
That win lifts Real Madrid back to second place in the table after Atletico Madrid slipped to a surprise 1-0 defeat away against already-relegated Elche.
Diego Simeone’s side produced an uncharacteristically lackluster performance and committed just three fouls in the entire 90 minutes, with Fidel netting the only goal of the game and Atletico failing to respond.
Real Sociedad and Girona drew 2-2 in a result that suits both sides as Real Sociedad move closer to securing fourth place, while Girona maintain their hopes of playing in Europe next season after goals from Yan Couto and Cristhian Stuani saw them fight back after early goals from Mikel Oyarzabal and David Silva had put ‘la Real’ 2-0 up early in the game.
Villarreal also moved closer to securing a place in Europe with a 5-1 win at home against Athletic Bilbao. Alex Baena and Nicolas Jackson both scored twice, and Aitor Paredes netted an own goal as Villarreal found acres of space in attack.
Osasuna returned to winning ways with an impressive 3-1 win over relegation-threatened Almeria, thanks to goals from Ante Budimir, Ezza Abde, and Moi Gomez.
Pablo Maffeo’s first-half header following a corner gave Mallorca a 1-0 win at home against Cadiz on Friday.
That defeat leaves Cadiz deep in trouble after Valencia won 2-1 away against Celta Vigo on Sunday afternoon. The visitors opened the scoring thanks to fit-again Justin Kluivert in the eighth minute, and although Celta controlled the ball, their moves nearly always broke down with the final pass.
Haris Seferovic finally leveled on the hour, but Valencia youngster Alberto Mari scored a vital winning goal two minutes from time, although Valencia’s celebrations were cut short when Gabriel Paulista was sent off in injury time.
Valladolid also remain deep in trouble after a controversial 3-0 defeat at home against Sevilla.
The home side was furious that the referee disallowed what would have been an opening goal from Sergio Escudero, as he blew the whistle for halftime as the ball was flying towards the Sevilla goal.
Raf Mir chested Sevilla ahead five minutes into the second half and Papu Gomez doubled the lead after breaking the offside trap, before Jesus Corona rounded off the win in injury time.