Rijkaard's farewell to forget

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The Independent Online

They were whistled on to the pitch and they were whistled off. Barcelona's players gave Frank Rijkaard the farewell he did not deserve crashing to a 3-2 defeat to Real Mallorca in front of their angry fans at the Nou Camp last night.

Banners around the stadium thanked Rijkaard for his five year's service – and the two leagues and one European Cup that he won – but the players failed to play their part in the homage.

Thierry Henry made the perfect start scoring after 20 minutes cutting in from the left and shooting inside the near post. He then combined with Samuel Eto'o as the Cameroonian made it two. But as they have done many times this season Barça collapsed with goals from Borja Valero, Webo and Dani Guiza late on giving the visitors the win.

Barça are in danger of finishing fourth behind Atletico Madrid who have returned to the Champions League for the first time in 11 years. Diego Forlan sent Madrid's second side into the Champions League with a goal just before half-time that ensured a 1-0 win over Deportivo. Sevilla also won, beating Real Betis but the team Juande Ramos left last year will join his Spurs side in the Uefa Cup next season after failing to finish in the top four.

The battle to stay up will go to the last week with Zaragoza favourites for the drop after they could only draw with champions Real Madrid. They go into the last match needing a win at Real Mallorca and hoping that Recreativo de Huelva or Osasuna slip up.

For Barça and Rijkaard there will be a depressing end to the season when the coach takes charge of his last game at Real Murcia. A manager, already sacked, playing a side already down.

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