Sports

Barcelona Close in on Title, Real Madrid Keep up Chase as Atletico Madrid Lose

Barcelona closed in on a second straight La Liga title by hammering local rivals Espanyol 5-0 on Sunday as Atletico Madrid dropped out of the race after losing 2-1 at Levante and Real Madrid beat Valencia 3-2.

Barca top the standings on 88 points, Real moved into second on 87 and Atletico have 85 with one game remaining. However, Atletico are ruled out because of their inferior head-to-head with the Catalans.

Barca went ahead in the eighth minute when Lionel Messi curled a 22-yard free kick into the top corner, before Luis Suarez stretched the hosts’ lead with two goals in the second half followed by strikes from Rafinha and Neymar to complete the rout.

Atletico took the lead at Levante in the first minute through Fernando Torres’ chipped effort, but the relegated home side fought back, equalising through Victor Casadesus before Giuseppe Rossi grabbed a stunning winner deep into stoppage time.

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