Just two days after the death of Tito Vilanova, Barcelona staged a remarkable comeback to beat Villarreal but Atletico Madrid remain on course to become Spanish champions after a narrow win over Valencia. Atleti are four points ahead of Barca and six in front of Real Madrid, who thumped Osasuna to keep up the pressure in third spot. Carlo Ancelotti’s side have a game in hand on their two title rivals.
Atletico Madrid edged closer to winning La Liga as midfielder Raul Garcia headed home just before half-time to see off Valencia 1-0. Atleti had to play the final minutes of injury time with 10 men after Juanfran was sent off for a reckless tackle, but they held on to register their first win at Mestalla in 11 years. Diego Simeone’s now require just two wins from their remaining three games to lift their first Spanish title in 18 years.
Barcelona came from two goals down to beat Villarreal 3-2 and remain in the title race on an emotional night at El Madrigal. In their first game since the death of former coach Tito Vilanova last Thursday at the age of 45, Barca gave muted display in the first half and trailed to a goal from Ruben Cani on the stroke of half-time. Manuel Trigueros then doubled the lead for the home side 10 minutes after the break, but Barca fought back as own goals from Gabriel Paulista and Mateo Musacchio brought the scores level before Lionel Messi struck the winner seven minutes from the end.
A brace from Cristiano Ronaldo set Real Madrid up for a comprehensive 4-0 win over Osasuna. The Portuguese struck after just six minutes and added another early in the second half. Further goals from Sergio Ramos and Daniel Carvajal secured a fourth win in a row for Los Blancos. Osasuna, meanwhile, have now won only one of their last 10 league games and are just two points above the bottom three.
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Athletic Bilbao strengthened their grip on a shot at the Champions League next season as they defeated Sevilla, their closest rivals for fourth place, 3-1 at San Mames. Markel Susaeta put the hosts one up direct from a corner-kick in the fourth minute and Iker Muniain tightened the Basques’ hold on the game with an acrobatic finish early in the second half. It got worse for Sevilla when Diogo Figueiras was sent off with 18 minutes remaining and Ander Herrera headed a third. Kevin Gameiro reduced the deficit with a consolation, but Athletic deserved the win and now have an almost unassailable six-point lead over the Andalusians.