Tuesday 18 June 2019

Madrid bow out on a whimper as Messi bags brace

Baled out: Welshman was dropped and then criticised by the home fans. Photo: Getty
Baled out: Welshman was dropped and then criticised by the home fans. Photo: Getty

Jamie Holland

Real Madrid's season has ended with a whimper as they suffered a 2-0 defeat at home to Real Betis, leaving the Spanish giants on just 68 points - their worst total since 2001-02.

Welsh forward Gareth Bale, an unused sub, came under fire after the game for failing to acknowledge the home fans as he left the field.

Zinedine Zidane explained why he chose not to field Bale. The Frenchman said: "I'm sorry he didn't get to play, but no-one knows what will happen.

"If I think a player doesn't fit in the team, I have to do what I think works best. No-one can change what Bale has done for the team, but as a coach I have to live in the present."

Barcelona rounded off their league-winning campaign with a 2-2 draw away to Eibar, both goals coming from Lionel Messi.

In Germany and Portugal, the title race went down to the last day of the season with Bayern Munich and Benfica seeing off rivals to claim the silver.

Borussia Dortmund travelled to Monchengladbach needing a win and duly obliged as English star Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus got on the scoresheet in a 2-0 victory.

It wasn't enough, however, as Bayern Munich cruised to a 5-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt which included goals for departing duo Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.

It is the Bavarians' seventh consecutive Bundesliga title.

Benfica's closest challengers, Porto, also tested them right up to the last 90 minutes. The Champions League quarter-finalists beat Sporting 2-1 on the final day, but by that stage their rivals from the capital were four goals to the good against Santa Clara.

Rumoured target for many of Europe's elite, Joao Felix, bagged one of three first-half goals.

January's promotion of a host of youth players proved fruitful for coach Bruno Lage as they lost just one of their last 25 games on the way to the title.

Irish Independent

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