Victory in the Catalan derby leaves Barça eight points clear at the top with only three games remaining.
A convincing 2-0 victory over local rivals Espanyol brought Barcelona to the brink of retaining La Liga. The win would have actually secured the title had it not been for a thumping 6-2 Real Madrid victory against Sevilla the day before. Results over the weekend mean that Guardiola’s side only require one point to ensure the Primera Liga returns to Catalunya and even if the top two sides were to finish level on points, the superior head-to-head record that the Catalan giants hold over Madrid would still see them come out on top.
The three points came courtesy of goals from two home-grown heroes and Spanish internationals in the form of Andrés Iniesta and Gerard Piqué. Iniesta had given Barcelona the lead midway through the first half after he capped off his jinking solo run into the box with an acute finish that beat Kameni at his near post.
Piqué then guaranteed victory with a smart header from a corner at the start of the second period but the best cheer of the game was reserved for recently returned Eric Abidal. The French defender graced his familiar full-back position for the last quarter of the match as he continued his comeback from surgery on a liver tumour.
Last night, Madrid continued to keep the Barça champagne on ice, for a few more hours at least, as they beat Getafe 4-0, thanks largely to a hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese winger now has seven goals in his last two games and is five clear of Messi in the quest for the Pichichi top scorer trophy. However, if Levante fail to beat Barcelona tonight, Messi and co will lift La Liga and be able to fully concentrate on the Champions League final still to come.
It was a similar story in England where Manchester United were able to overcome second placed Chelsea with a 2-1 victory at Old Trafford. The result leaves them needing only one point from their last two remaining fixtures to secure a record 19th Premier League title, overcoming Liverpool’s long-standing record in the process. As both Champions League finalists look set to wrap up their respective league titles with at least one game left in their domestic seasons, the titanic clash at Wembley will be all the more entertaining with two fresh squads, who have the luxury of resting players before that crucial encounter on May 28th.