Barcelona end Real’s title hopes
With Real Madrid on the ropes in front of its own fans, Barcelona showed no mercy.
The Catalan club threw the knockout punch yesterday, leaving Madrid reeling from a second consecutive demoralising home loss by their biggest rival in less than a week.
Three days after winning 3-0 at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey, Barcelona followed up by defeating Madrid 1-0 to virtually end its hopes of winning the Spanish league title.
Ivan Rakitic scored in the first half, and Barcelona held on for their third straight victory at the Bernabeu.
Barcelona, who have also now become the first team to win four in a row at the Bernabeu in the league, are 12 points ahead of Madrid with 12 matches left. The defending champions are 10 points in front of second-place Atlético Madrid, who visit Real Sociedad on Sunday.
Winning coach Ernesto Valverde remained cautious, though.
“We are not yet considering Madrid out of the title race,” he said. “Atlético is not our only rival, absolutely not. We all know Madrid is capable of winning several matches in a row and getting back in contention.”