Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 18th 2015 Contents A60
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, May 18, 2015
scored the goal that clinched the
Spanish league title for Barcelona
yesterday, securing a 1-0 win at
dethroned champion Atletico
Messi slotted in the decisive goal
in the 65th minute after working
a sublime one-two passing com-
bination with Pedro Rodriguez, who
started for the injured Luis Suarez.
It was the Catalan club s 23rd
league crown and its seventh in the
last 11 years as it reestablished itself
as the dominant Spanish club of
the past decade.
A year after not winning a major
title, Luis Enrique s side can now
focus on the final of the Champions
League and the Copa del Rey as it
aims for a treble of trophies.
"We re very happy of this glo-
rious era with so many titles," said
Barcelona midfielder Sergio Bus-
"Last year we weren t up to the
challenge to win any competitions,
but this year we are on a good path
and this is only the first.
"This winning era hadn t ended.
What Pep Guardiola started with
Messi, Xavi, Iniesta is still going.
We have one title now and are two
more wins away from a historic
Real Madrid will finish runner-
up despite Cristiano Ronaldo scor-
It trails Barcelona by four points
with one round left.
Atletico, which won the title last
year in a winner-take-all finale at
Barcelona, was left in third place.
With Suarez out nursing a left
hamstring injury, Messi moved into
the centre of Barcelona s attack and
had four shots in the first 20 min-
He first sent two efforts into the
hands of goalkeeper Jan Oblak
before firing high and heading a
ball off the arm of Juanfran Torres
in the area, which went unpunished
by the referee.
Messi next clipped the crossbar
with a free kick in the 34th before
Dani Alves dipping strike from long
range forced Oblak to tap it over
his bar just before halftime.
Barcelona kept up the pressure
until Messi and Pedro finally broke
down Atletico s defense, when the
Argentina forward used his left boot
to fire the ball inside the post for
his 41st league goal of the season
and his 54th in as many games in
Ronaldo s goals---he leads the
league with 45---were once again
not enough for Madrid to better
Messi s Barcelona, and Carlo
Ancelotti s team will end the season
without a major title.
MANCHESTER---Arsenal relied on
a late own-goal to draw 1-1 at Man-
chester United in the Premier League
yesterday and stay in control of the
race for automatic qualification for
the Champions League.
A cross by Theo Walcott in the
82nd minute deflected off the out-
stretched boot of United substitute
Tyler Blackett and looped over
wrong-footed goalkeeper Victor
Valdes, who had just come on for his
Ander Herrera gave United the lead
in the 30th when he met Ashley
Young s cross with a side-footed vol-
ley, but the hosts were pinned back
for much of the second half at Old
Arsenal stayed third, two points
ahead of United, and will secure a
finish in at least that position by
beating Sunderland in its game in
hand on Wednesday.
The last round of the Premier
League is on Sunday.
"It takes the pressure off during
the holidays and during the prepa-
ration," Arsenal manager Arsene
Wenger said about the likelihood of
his team finishing third.
"We have always that in mind
when you prepare (for the new sea-
son) and it will be great when we do
it. But it is still to do."
Both Arsenal and United are already
guaranteed top-four finishes, but
United is likely now to need to go
through qualifying to reach the lucra-
tive group stage of Europe s top com-
petition---and that could mean a
match against the likes of Valencia,
Monaco or Shakhtar Donetsk. To def-
initely avoid that prospect, Louis van
Gaal s team must beat Hull away in
its final game and hope Arsenal loses
its last two, which are both at home.
Arsenal is still without a win at
Old Trafford in the league since 2006,
but will be pleased by its second-
half performance after a poor first
45 minutes when the team failed to
take a single shot. That hasn t hap-
pened in a league game for Arsenal
since November 2004.
"I think the difference between
(league champion) Chelsea and Man-
chester United at this moment is that
they can finish a game. They can kill
the game," United manager Louis van
Gaal said. "That is the mentality we
have to improve."
There was little between the sides
early on and it needed a moment of
quality from Young to break the dead-
lock. The winger was United s most
dangerous attacking outlet and he
sent over a superb cross which was
met with a volley by Herrera inside
the near post.
United goalkeeper David de Gea,
who hobbled off with a right ham-
string injury in the 74th to be replaced
by Valdes, was called upon for the
first time when he kept out a close-
range poke by Olivier Giroud in the
By that time, Radamel Falcao had
been substituted---and a little wave
to the United crowd as he made his
way to the dugout suggested this
could be the last Old Trafford sees
of him. The Colombia striker is on
loan from French club Monaco and
has scored four goals in 28 games---
and not since January 31.
Arsenal continued to press and it
needed a timely intervention from
Marcos Rojo to deny Aaron Ramsey,
who had lobbed the ball past De Gea
toward an open goal.
That was De Gea s last meaningful
action. Like Falcao, De Gea s future
at United is in question amid interest
from Real Madrid and he could also
have played his last match at Old
Valdes came on to applause and
had only touched the ball a few times
when he had to pick it out of the net
after Blackett s unfortunate deflection.
The goal makes Arsenal big favourite
for third and the team could yet catch
Manchester City, which is five points
ahead in second having played a game
chester United manager
Louis van Gaal says the
club will find it difficult
to stop goalkeeper
David de Gea joining
Real Madrid in the off-
United has offered De
Gea a lucrative new con-
tract but Van Gaal says
the chance of moving
back to one of the
world s top clubs---and
to his native country---
could be too hard to turn
Van Gaal says "he is
Spanish, he is Spanish
international, now a
Spanish club is coming,
his girlfriend is Spanish,
his father and mother
come every week or
every two weeks here.
So it is difficult."
De Gea came off with
a right hamstring injury
in the 1-1 draw against
Arsenal yesterday and
may miss United s final
game of the season, at
Hull next weekend.
Messi's goal clinches title for Barcelona
Barcelona's players celebrate their championship after a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Atletico Madrid
and FC Barcelona at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Spain, yesterday. AP PHOTO
Arsenal relies on late own-goal at Man U Van
Arsenal's Francis Coquelin, left, fights for the ball against Manchester United's
Ashley Young during the English Premier League soccer match between
Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England,
yesterday. AP PHOTO
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