La Liga wrap: Barcelona forced to wait another week for 22nd title

La Liga wrap: Barcelona were made to wait another week before sealing the title after Ander Herrera's late equaliser in Bilbao

lionel messi
Lionel Messi has scored 58 goals this season Photo: Back Page Images

Barcelona must wait for title after Bilbao draw

There would have been no better way for Barcelona to respond to their 4-0 thrashing at Bayern Munich on Tuesday then returning to league action and sealing the title at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday. That must wait at least another week as Barça conceded a last-minute equaliser to draw 2-2 in their last-ever game at the San Mames. But the result proved immaterial as securing the title depended on Real Madrid slipping up against rivals Atletico Madrid. Lionel Messi stayed on the bench for an hour but changed the game after his introduction. His equaliser cancelled out Markel Susaeta’s opener as the Argentinian scored for the 20th league game in succession with a wonderful run and finish. Alexis Sánchez gave Barça the lead but a late Ander Herrera equaliser made sure Tito Vilanova’s weary side left with just a point.

Real win Madrid derby to virtually clinch second place

Atletico hadn’t beaten rivals Real in over 13 years but sensed the perfect opportunity to end that barren streak this year at the Vicente Calderón where they have been so impressive this term. Jose Mourinho fielded a weakened side for the derby game which would effectively seal second-place ahead of Atletico with one eye on their Champions League last-four second-leg tie against Borussia Dortmund. In the end though Los Blancos proved too strong for Los Rojiblancos as Ángel Di Maria scored a second-half winner to condemn Atletico to just their second home defeat of the season. Radamel Falcao gave the home side the lead but a Juanfran own goal pulled Real back level before Di Maria made it 2-1. The two sides will meet in the Copa del Rey final at the end of the season with Diego Simeone and Atletico vying for some long overdue revenge.

Champions League coming to Sociedad after Valencia showdown

Two points separated fourth-placed Sociedad and Valencia before the sides faced off on Sunday evening, with the winner entering the final five games in pole position for Champions League football next year. Sociedad had lost just two at home all season and one of their last 23 in La Liga, and the Basque side continued their impressive form, winning 4-2 in a thrilling game. Roberto Soldado headed Valencia into the lead but Iñigo Martínez’s volley levelled proceedings. Chori Castro made it 2-1 to Sociedad on 74 minutes before a crazy finale saw Sociedad close out the game in style. Imanol Agirretxe scored a third for the home side before another late Jonas goal made it 3-2 in stoppage time. Valencia couldn’t mount a comeback though as Agirretxe finished off the scoring in stoppage time to make it 4-2 to Sociedad and all but seal qualification for the Champions League next season.

Blackburn reject Rochina keeps Zaragoza’s survival hopes alive

After losing to Celta Vigo on Monday, Real Zaragoza knew defeat at the hands of fellow relegation rivals Mallorca would virtually consign them to relegation to the Segunda División, but a Ruben Rochina strike in the 88th minute gave Zaragoza a 3-2 win and a massive chance of survival. This game was always going to be exciting with both sides woeful at the back and Tomer Hemed nodded Mallorca ahead early on. Zaragoza mounted a comeback asFrancisco Montañes cut through the Mallorca defence easily to level the game. Helder Postiga headed Zaragoza into the lead before Javier Arizmendi thought he’d salvaged a late point for Mallorca. But, like Celta had done to them on Monday, Zaragoza scored a crucial late winner as Rochina fired home to make it 3-2. Just five points separate the bottom six now after Celta and Granada both won at the weekend.

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