Sport Soccer

Thursday 30 March 2017

Iniesta and Pique steer Barca to brink of another title

Euro round-up

Brian Homewood

Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique scored to give Barcelona a 2-0 derby win over Espanyol at the Nou Camp yesterday which left them a point away from their third consecutive La Liga title.

Second-placed Real Madrid's 6-2 thrashing of Sevilla on Saturday had denied Barca the chance to win the championship in front of their own fans, but they showed few signs of nerves as they calmly dispatched their neighbours.

The Champions League finalists climbed to 91 points and restored their eight-point lead with three games left, needing only need a draw at Levante on Wednesday to wrap up the title unless Real slip up at home to Getafe tomorrow.

Spain midfielder Iniesta slalomed his way into the area to beat Carlos Kameni at his near post after 29 minutes and his international team-mate Pique nodded in at the near post from a corner just after the re-start.

Clinched

In Italy, AC Milan won Serie A for the first time in seven years on Saturday as an insipid goalless draw at AS Roma clinched the title with two games to spare and finally ended Inter Milan's long stranglehold on the scudetto.

Milan, in their first season under coach Massimiliano Allegri, took an unassailable nine-point lead over bitter rivals Inter, champions for the last five seasons and the only team who could catch them before the start of the weekend.

It was Milan's 18th Serie A title, pulling them level with Inter, although they are still nine behind Juventus. "They gave us up for dead and they thought I was finished," midfielder Gennaro Gattuso said as his team-mates celebrated on the pitch at the Stadio Olimpico.

"It's a beautiful moment which has arrived after seven years," added 35-year-old Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf, who was at the club in 2004 but will be out of contract at the end of the season.

"This squad will improve a lot after this win."

Irish Independent

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