Valencia thrash Real Madrid; Barcelona closer to title

May 10th, 2009 - 1:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, May 10 (DPA) Troubled Spanish giants Real Madrid were thrashed again, this time 3-0 by fourth-placed Valencia.
This means that Barcelona, who slaughtered Real 6-2 last week, will be champions if they beat Villarreal at home Sunday.

Barca are seven points ahead of Real with one game in hand.

Real have 78 points from 35 games, 15 points more than third- placed Sevilla, who beat Mallorca 3-1 earlier on Saturday.

Sevilla are four points ahead of Valencia, who in turn are four ahead of Atletico Madrid and Villarreal, who share fifth place.

Valencia Saturday were much hungrier and livelier than Real, who already have a weary end-of-season look about them.

Young Spain striker Juan Mata shot Valencia ahead in the 28th minute, after an elegant move between Euro 2008 heroes David Silva and David Villa.

Just four minutes later Silva made it 2-0 with a low left-foot drive that beat Iker Casillas on his near post.

The third goal, in the 68th minute, was the most spectacular of the night. Pablo centred cleverly from the right for veteran Ruben Baraja, who made it 3-0 with a perfect left-foot volley from just outside the penalty area.

Real, who have leaked 13 goals in four games, were desperate for the final whistle.

“The fans really helped us tonight,” said Silva, who insisted that he wants to stay at cash-strapped Valencia.

Earlier Saturday, slick Sevilla had consolidated themselves in third place with a 3-1 comeback home defeat of midtable Mallorca.

Aritz Aduriz gave Mallorca an early lead, only for Frederic Kanoute to quickly equalize for Sevilla from the penalty spot, after the lively Luis Fabiano had been pulled down.

Luis Fabiano made it 2-1 on the hour with a handsome left-foot solo goal, Jesus Navas added a handsome third 14 minutes from time.

In Saturday’s other early game, Athletic Bilbao beat lowly Betis 1-0 on a 29th minute goal from Ion Velez.

Bilbao coach Joaquin Caparros fielded a team of reserves, in order to rest his first-teamers ahead of Wednesday’s King’s Cup final against Barcelona in Valencia.

This is the first time since 1985 that Bilbao - who only field local Basque players - have reached the final. Around 25,000 of their fans are expected to make the trip to Valencia.

The defeat in Bilbao leaves Betis sixth from bottom and in trouble again.

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