Real Madrid‘s 1-1 draw with Espanyol on Saturday meant that the Catalans, who now have four titles in five years and 22 in all, could no longer be caught. But in keeping with a number of their recent performances Barça started lethargically and were behind just after half-time when Radamel Falcao took advantage of slips by Gerard Pique and Alex Song to slot home his 28th league goal of the season.
Brilliant Bayern Munich completed a stunning UEFA Champions League semi-final mauling of Barcelona, with a 3-0 win in Spain and 7-0 on aggregate, to set up a mouthwatering Wembley final against Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund.
Leading 4-0 from the first leg, Bayern were similarly clinical at the Nou Camp tonight with second-half goals from Arjen Robben, Gerard Pique – who put through his own net – and Thomas Muller sealing a one-sided win over a sorry Barça side for whom Lionel Messi was an unused substitute.
PSG will head to the Camp Nou with optimism next week partly because of the injuries that have hit Barcelona. Defenders Puyol, Adriano and Mascherano will all miss the second leg, as will Lionel Messi who left at halftime with a hamstring injury.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side were not overwhelmed by the visit of the best team in Europe and nearly went ahead inside five minutes when Ezequiel Lavezzi was first to Javier Pastore’s chest-down and jinked past Gerard Piqué, only to see his shot come back off the post.
Barcelona on the other hand are in the midst of their worst run of form in years. Already out of the Copa del Rey and with a mountain to climb to stay in the Champions League, even a La Liga title will not be enough to rescue a disappointing season.
In a brilliant display of counter-attacking football, Real Madrid dismantled Barcelona 3-1 at the Nou Camp to reach the Copa del Rey final, sealing a 4-2 victory over the two legs. Real Madrid go into their 38th Copa del Rey final, where they will face either Atletico Madrid or Sevilla, depending on the result of their second leg tie on Wednesday.
It was the kind of performance, led by Cristiano Ronaldo, that had to unnerve Man United boss Sir Alex Ferguson who watched this game from the stands.
When Real Madrid defend this well, and then attack with the pass that they do, it is hard for anyone to beat them. And that will be United’s challenge next week.
A sluggish first-half performance saw the runaway Liga leaders trail to Alberto Botia’s header, but Los Cules came out fighting in the second period as goals from Villa and Messi brought them victory.
The result sees Barca extend their lead over Atletico Madrid, who play Espanyol on Sunday, and crucially it is a confidence booster following the Champions League last 16 first leg loss to AC Milan, with a double Clasico in Copa and Liga coming up next week.
Comments from Barcelona players after last night’s disappointing performance in Milan
This was AC Milan’s first victory over Barcelona since 2004, and it was a familar playbook that sunk a poor Barcelona side. Massimiliano Allegri’s side followed the blueprint developed by Chelsea and Celtic, the only sides to have beaten Barca in 25 matches in Europe, which is soaking up wave after wave of Barca attack before hitting them on the break. And once again it worked to perfection.