'This isn't Tito's title, it is for all the players': Vilanova and Lionel Messi celebrate La Liga title for Barcelona

Real Madrid's draw with Espanyol ensured Barca were crowned champions

Barcelona celebrated their 22nd La Liga title with a 2-1 comeback win at Atletico Madrid when a bizarre own-goal from home captain Gabi decided the clash at the Calderon on Sunday.

Radamel Falcao had threatened to spoil Barca's title party when he struck in the 51st minute, but Alexis Sanchez levelled in the 72nd before David Villa's miscued shot was diverted into his own net by Gabi eight minutes later.

Barca had to play with 10 men for the last 20 minutes after Lionel Messi was forced to leave the pitch with a recurrence of his hamstring injury after coach Tito Vilanova had already made his three substitutions.

The Catalans, left with an unassailable lead in the standings on Saturday when second-placed Real Madrid drew 1-1 at Espanyol, moved 10 points clear at the top on 91.

With three games left, Barca have a chance to match Real's record 100 points tally for a season from last year. Jose Mourinho's side have 81 points but with two matches to play.

"I would like people to value this title for the work done by everyone, and not for the health problems," Vilanova told a news conference referring to his battle against throat cancer and attempts to label their success 'Tito's title'.

"This isn't Tito's title, it is for all the players. They deserve a lot of credit because it is difficult to win when the coach is absent for two months (receiving treatment).

"I didn't watch Real's game last night. I looked at the internet and saw it was 1-1 and went to bed because I was thinking about today's game."

Atletico gave Barca a guard of honour as they entered a festive Calderon stadium, with both teams having achieved their main objectives - the league title and automatic Champions League qualification for a third-placed finish respectively.

The hosts had one eye on Friday's King's Cup final against Real but still fielded a near full-strength side, and just after the restart caught the visitors on a counter-attack when Colombia striker Falcao scored his 28th goal of the season.

Alexis levelled for Barca, after exchanging passes with Cesc Fabregas, as he raced into the area and wrong-footed goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

With 10 minutes to go, Gabi was unable to get out of the way of a scuffed Villa shot that was going wide, and the ball went in off his thigh.

Earlier, Roberto Soldado scored twice to keep Valencia in the running for a return to the Champions League next season with a 4-0 victory at Rayo Vallecano.

The Spain striker netted a penalty after 28 minutes and doubled the lead with a simple tap in from Andres Guardado's pass in the 34th, taking his season's league tally to 21.

Mexico midfielder Guardado netted midway through the second half, and Paraguayan substitute Nelson Haedo Valdez lashed a fourth high into the net on a counter-attack.

Valencia were knocked out of Europe's elite club competition at the last 16 stage in March but their hunger for a return far outweighed 10th-placed Rayo's fading hopes of qualifying for the Europa League.

They climbed to fourth on 59 points, and edged ahead in the race for Spain's place in the playoffs for next season's Champions League group stage.

Real Sociedad slipped to fifth with 58 points before playing their game in hand at home to struggling Granada on Monday.

In the battle for Europa League places Malaga drew 0-0 at home to Andalusian rivals Sevilla to stay sixth with 54 points.

Afterwards Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini, who has been linked in the media with a possible move to Manchester City, said he had not spoken to anyone about his future.

"There are a lot of rumours," the Chilean told a news conference.

"The coaching staff and players are focusing on qualifying the team for the Europa League. I hope in the next 15 days planning will take place for what is going to happen next year and we'll see what happens."

Real Betis were two points back in seventh after a 1-0 win at home to relegation-threatened Celta Vigo, thanks to a Ruben Castro volley, and Sevilla were eighth with 47 points.

Teams finishing fifth to seventh in La Liga will qualify for the Europa League with Cup finalists Real and Atletico already qualified for the Champions League .

Reuters

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower