European round-up: Barcelona need just one more point after easing to derby win

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Barcelona closed in on their third consecutive La Liga title last night with a 2-0 victory in the derby with Espanyol at the Nou Camp. Goals from Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique won the game, sending Barça eight points clear of Real Madrid with just three games left. One draw in any of those matches will guarantee them the title.



Iniesta opened the scoring after 29 minutes. The Spain international midfielder cut in from the left flank before scoring at Carlos Kameni's near post. Three minutes after the interval Pique headed in a Xavi corner from six yards out to double Barça's lead over their city rivals.

"We knew we couldn't slip up," Iniesta said afterwards. "We have the title so close. We will now go to Valencia to earn it," he said of Barcelona's game at Levante on Wednesday.

The previous evening Cristiano Ronaldo scored four goals in Real Madrid's 6-2 win over Seville, keeping them in the title race. Ronaldo's four goals took him to 33 in La Liga this season, moving him two ahead of Barcelona's Lionel Messi. With three games left to play Ronaldo has the chance of matching the goal-scoring record of Hugo Sanchez, who scored 38 league goals in the 1989-90 season for Real.

In Italy, Milan secured their first Serie A title since 2004 on Saturday night, thanks to a 0-0 draw at Roma. It was the club's 18th scudetto, drawing them level with local rivals Internazionale, over whom they now have an insurmountable lead in this season's league.

It was a successful end to a season of regeneration for the Italian giants; in the summer they signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho, as well as recruiting new coach Massmimiliano Allegri. The 43-year-old manager was thrilled with his team's performance over the season.

"I think that the guys have done so much, they've been fantastic and always accepted my decisions," Allegri said. "The squad demonstrated it was united by everyone coming tonight and 10 of the guys sitting in the stand. I'm delighted to have won the title in my first season and it is still sinking in. We were top of the table for 26 rounds of games and the team couldn't have done any more."

While the scudetto was a welcome change for Milan, it was a very familiar result for Ibrahimovic. The Swedish striker has now won the domestic championship in his last five consecutive seasons, with Inter, Barcelona and Milan. The 29-year-old was delighted, but keen to re-focus on the forthcoming Coppa Italia semi-final second leg at Palermo. "I came to Milan to win things and that's what we've done," Ibrahimovic said. "I have now won with the three biggest teams in Italy. I've been in Italy for six years and won it all. Now we have to think about only one thing; doing well on Tuesday to reach the final of the Italian Cup."

Comments