Real Madrid take Barcelona to pieces in Spanish league

May 8th, 2008 - 12:55 pm ICT by admin  

Madrid, May 8 (DPA) Real Madrid confirmed their supremacy in Spain late Wednesday with an emphatic 4-1 thrashing of arch rivals Barcelona. The convincing win is the icing on the cake of Real’s championship celebrations, which started on Sunday after that dramatic late win away to Osasuna.

For Barcelona, the drubbing confirms that Frank Rijkaard’s team has completed its five-year cycle, in the worst possible way.

The Dutchman will be replaced in June by former Barca captain Josep Guardiola, who faces the Labours of Hercules in rejuvenating and reinvigorating a squad which has quickly grown old, complacent and indolent.

Barca are now no less than 17 points behind Real. Moreover, they are now doomed to finish third, given that they are seven points behind Villarreal, who won 2-0 in Huelva earlier on Wednesday with just two games left.

Real went ahead after just 14 minutes when veteran captain Raul Gonzalez beat Victor Valdes with a classy left-foot drive from just outside the box.

Seven minutes later Arjen Robben took advantage of more sloppy defending to make it 2-0 by heading in a Guti free-kick.

Every Real attack looked dangerous, so brittle and pathetic were Barca in defence.

The third goal came in the 63rd minute, when supersub Gonzalo Higuain leisurely picked his way through the porous Catalan defence to score with his left foot.

In the 78th minute Real were given a dubious penalty for handball by Carles Puyol. Ruud Van Nistelrooy, only on the field for three minutes after two months out injured, calmly put away the spot-kick.

Driven forward by a sense of shame, Barca battled for a consolation goal. They got it three minutes from time, when Thierry Henry broke free down the left and scored with a right-foot drive.

Barca playmaker Xavi Hernandez picked up a second yellow card in injury time.

Xavi then admitted to Cadena COPE that “they have been much more effective that us tonight”.

Raul, for his part, said to Tele 5 that “tonight’s win is the culmination of all our hard work this season”.

Earlier in the evening, Villarreal had scored an authoritative win away to lowly Recreativo Huelva.

This win, coupled with Barca’s meltdown, guarantees Villarreal second place - their highest ever finish.

Nihat Kahveci put the “Yellow Submarine” ahead in the 55th minute with an elegant free-kick. Guille Franco sealed the win seven minutes from time, making it 2-0 with a left-foot drive after being set up by Santi Cazorla.

Sevilla, meanwhile, were keeping alive their dream of returning to the Champions League, with a crucial 3-0 romp up in Santander.

Sevilla are now level on 58 points with fourth-placed Atletico Madrid, who are away to Espanyol on Wednesday. Santander fall down to sixth, two points behind Sevilla and Atletico.

In the 14th minute Santander veteran Aldo Duscher hit the crossbar with a penalty, given for handball by Sevilla defender Ivica Dragutinovic.

From then on, Sevilla were in command. Their first two goals were put away by promising young defender Federico Fazio.

The tall Argentine opened the scoring by heading in a corner from Daniel Alves, in the 30th minute. In the 66th minute Fazio made it 2-0 by putting away the rebound after the Santander defence had failed to clear an Alves free-kick.

Renato headed in Sevilla’s third goal in stoppage time. Santander, who have never qualified for Europe, are now just three points above seventh-placed Mallorca, whose good form continued with a 2-1 home win over lowly Osasuna.

Spain striker Daniel Guiza gave Mallorca an early lead, a goal which keeps him two ahead of Sevilla’s Luis Fabiano atop the scorers’ chart.

Javier Portillo seemed to have salvaged a point for Osasuna with a late equaliser, only for Oscar Trejo to make it 2-1 in injury time.

In eighth place now, just one point behind Mallorca, are fast-improving Deportivo Coruna, who beat relegated Levante on a late goal from Riki.

Athletic Bilbao are ninth following a 2-1 win away to relegated Murcia.

Then come Almeria, who were on the wrong end of a 4-2 scoreline in Getafe.

Espanyol are 11th, Betis 12th after a 1-1 draw against defiant Valladolid.

Valencia moved up to 13th with a reassuring 1-0 defeat of fellow strugglers Valladolid. The only goal was a 19th minute strike from Spain forward David Silva.

Getafe are level on 45 points with Valencia, who beat them in the cup final three weeks ago, after their thrashing of Almeria.

Their is just one relegation place left to decide now that Murcia and Levante are down.

Valladolid are sixth from bottom, on 43 points, thanks to their draw against Betis. Then come Zaragoza on 41, then Huelva and Osasuna tied on 40.

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