Category Archives: Spanish La Liga

SPain La Liga League Cup

Messi hat-trick seals La Liga title for Barca

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Barcelona were crowned La Liga champions for the 25th time after beating Deportivo La Coruna 4-2 with the help of a hat-trick from Lionel Messi.

Barca needed only a draw to clinch the title and complete an eighth domestic double after winning the King’s Cup last week and they marched into a 2-0 lead with goals from their record signing, Philippe Coutinho, and top scorer, Messi, in the first half. The result also relegated Deportivo.

However, Barca coach Ernesto Valverde praised their consistency he acknowledged they have “lacked brilliance” at times.

“When you chase it all season you say finally ‘the league is very long’” Valverde said. It is not decided only in a match. From the beginning we have been in the lead. In the end we were the best. The hard part is winning and winning.”

Ousmane Dembele, the first player Barça bought after selling Neymar last summer, drove forward before playing in Luis Suarez, who clipped a cross with the outside of his foot that Messi met with a sidefooted volley.

Lucas Perez pulled one back five minutes before half-time and the Turkish midfielder Emre Colak levelled for the Galicians from Celso Borges’ cross in the 64th minute.

They then came close to finding a winner and becoming the first team to beat Barca in the league this season but Messi had other ideas. The Argentinian ace restored Barca’s lead from close range in the 82nd minute before completing his treble with his 32nd league goal of the season.

Valverde’s side have 86 points from 34 games, 11 clear of second-placed Atlético Madrid, who have three games to play.

Barca one win away from title after Atletico collapse at Real Sociedad

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FC Barcelona are one win away from a 25th Spanish La Liga title after Atletico Madrid lost by 3-0 at Real Sociedad.

Diego Simeone’s side team second best throughout and fell behind when Willian Jose turned home a cutback by winger Adnan Januzaj, while substitute Juanmi made it 2-0 late on when he drove in before getting his second in stoppage time with a chip.

Barcelona will win the La Liga title with victory at Deportivo La Coruna on 29 April, after finishing second last season, three points behind rivals Real Madrid.

Atletico hosts fifth-placed Real Betis on Sunday with the chance to close the gap to Barca back to nine points, but only if Barca does not win.

Second-placed Atletico, who are now 12 points behind Barcelona with five games remaining, would travel to Arsenal in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on 26 April but carry a concerning streak in regards to away games, as demonstrated by their rout at Real Sociedad, with Simeone putting the blame on concentration issues.

“We have to take a good look at our away form and be more alert and attentive because we are letting ourselves down on the road,” Simeone said after the game.

“Today we did not play a good first half. We improved at the start of the second half, but we did not have the consistency to get closer on the scoreboard.”

“We have to look at what happened, but congratulate Real Sociedad on their deserved win.”

Sergi Roberto sees red but Barca keeps unbeaten run

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A second-string FC Barcelona side were held at Celta Vigo by 2-2 as Ernesto Valverde rested players before Saturday’s Copa del Rey final against Sevilla.

Key players such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez started from the bench and Gerard Pique and Andres Iniesta were rested, although Valverde started Ousmane Dembele.

He and Philippe Coutinho came into the Barca squad as part of eight changes for the night, with the goalkeeper Marc ter Stegen captaining them for the first time.

Dembele, 20, then fired Barca ahead with his first La Liga goal since joining the Catalan team in the summer before the defender Jonny Castro Otto equalised on the stroke of half-time.

Paulinho put the visitors ahead again just after the hour, by which time Messi had been sent on, but Sergio Roberto saw red on 71 minutes for pulling down Iago Aspas, who made it 2-2 with eight minutes left.

Paulinho also hit the post for the La Liga leaders on what was a frustrating night for Valverde’s side.

Still, they held out to extend their unbeaten run to 40 matches, however, and move 12 points ahead of Atletico Madrid who stays at second place, who have a game in hand.

Fernando Torres set to leave Atletico by end of the season

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Fernando Torres has revealed his plans to leave Atletico Madrid when his contract expires at the end of the season to seek more game time.

The Spaniard is in his second spell at the club he left in 2007 to sign for Liverpool, and also had stints at Chelsea and Milan before returning to Spain in 2015.

Torres, 34, has only made three starts in La Liga this season and made 17 appearances from the bench, scoring two goals.

“I want to take advantage of this opportunity to say this will be my last season at the club,” Torres said at a promotional event. “It has not been an easy decision. Looking at the reality, the circumstances, perhaps it’s for the best. I accept that I’m not having much of a role, so perhaps this is the moment to step aside for others.”

“It’s difficult to say goodbye for a second time because I wanted to retire here but things don’t always go as you want. I feel physically and mentally able to keep playing. I am in good shape and I will look elsewhere for games.”

“I still feel I can play, and want to keep playing,” he added. “I have not listened to any offers [from other clubs] yet, but I will now. We will sit down and look at what we have, before making a decision when the time comes.”

Atletico will honour Torres at their last home game of the season against Eibar on 20 May and will make it an “unforgettable” occasion.

“Fernando is a legend of our club,” said Atletico president Enrique Cerezo. “The doors of Atletico de Madrid will always be open for him.”

“We have always said that he would have the decision about his future because this is his home and if he has decided to continue his professional career from the next season in another place, I can only thank him for everything he has given us, which is a lot.”