MADRID: Real Madrid edged closer to their first league title in four years with a 3-0 win over Sevilla on Sunday, but Barcelona ensured their celebrations were put on hold with a 7-0 mauling of Rayo Vallecano.
Karim Benzema struck a second half brace after Cristiano Ronaldo had given Real the lead to beat Sevilla as the Madrid side took their record-breaking haul of league goals for the season to 112. Victory against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday will guarantee a first title since 2008 for Jose Mourinho’s team.
Barcelona, in their first match since Pep Guardiola announced he would quit at the end of the season, produced a sensational attacking display to help ease a little of the pain suffered by their midweek Champions League exit to Chelsea.
Lionel Messi put Barca ahead and then an own goal from ‘Rober’ Correa, who turned in an Alexis Sanchez shot, and a Seydou Keita strike gave them a 3-0 lead at the interval. Pedro Rodriguez got a double in the second half and Thiago Alcantara was also on target before, a minute from the end, Messi got his second.
It means that Messi is now joint top scorer in the league with Ronaldo on 43 goals.
“We prepared for this game as we would for any other and I was very pleased with the way that the team played,” said Guardiola. “We worked hard in what was a tough match against a side looking for points to stay up.”
Porto win Portuguese league
FC Porto celebrated their 26th Portuguese league title triumph after beating Maritimo 2-0 and their closest rivals Benfica only managing a 2-2 draw at Rio Ave on Sunday.
That left Porto with a six-point lead with two games left but assured of the title due to their better head-to-head record over their rivals.
Juve on-course for one crown in 9 years
Juventus remained on course for their first Serie A crown in nine seasons after crushing relegation-threatened Novara 4-0 as AC Milan stayed three points adrift with a 4-1 win at Siena.
A brace from Mirko Vucinic and goals from Marco Borriello and Arturo Vidal helped unbeaten Juventus record their eighth success in a row to reach 77 points with three matches left. The Bianconeri, who have a better head-to-head record against Milan, could clinch the title as early as Wednesday should they defeat Lecce and Milan lose to Atalanta.
Dortmund chase record after title
Champions Borussia Dortmund closed in on another record as their 5-2 win over relegated Kaiserslautern took their unbeaten run to 27 league games.
Having broken the Bundesliga record for the longest unbeaten run in a season, Dortmund are now just one behind Bayern Munich’s record of 79 points collected in a single Bundesliga season, which they managed twice in the 1970s.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2012.