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Sunday, December 04, 2022

Barcelona end up losing run, ready for champions Madrid City

BARCELONA, Spain ( Associated Press) – While Real Madrid players went back to training after celebrating the club’s latest Spanish league title, Barcelona offered peace to their fans by ending an embarrassing losing streak at the Camp Nou on Sunday .

Goals from Memphis Depay and Sergio Busquets in each half were enough to beat Mallorca 2-1 to move Barcelona to second place behind Sevilla. More importantly, it opened a nine-point gap over fifth-placed Real Betis in the fight for a top-four spot and a lucrative Champions League berth.

But the victory was otherwise rendered meaningless after Madrid’s 4–0 win over Espanyol, which secured their record-expanding 35th league title.,

Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti put out cigars who were seen smoking cigarettes with his players, after paraded trophies to thousands of fans shortly after victory in the Spanish capital on Saturday. during the party and ordered them back to practice. Madrid are set to face Manchester City in their Champions League semi-final decider on Wednesday and will have to overcome a 4-3 first leg defeat. Madrid said Sunday’s session consisted of sprints, strength drills and shooting drills.

Barcelona midfielder Frankie de Jong said it was “disappointing” to see Madrid win the league.

“We didn’t play well this season and that’s why we couldn’t match them,” he said. “I hope next season will be different.”

Xavi Hernandez never promised he could make a Barcelona team that lost Lionel Messi to immediate title winners when he took over the club in November. But after a good win earlier this year, Barcelona went down for the first time at the Camp Nou from three consecutive defeats in a single season. Last fall, the crowd was excited by a 1–0 loss to lowly Cadiz.

On Sunday, Depay controlled a length ball from Jordi Alba before being taken home in the 25th minute. Busquets doubled the lead at the start of the second half when he collected a rebound and shot from inside the field.

But what looked like a comfortable victory was put into doubt when Antonio Rello slotted in a free kick by Salva Sevilla in the 79th.

Barcelona lost Gerard Pique, who was returning from injury, when he appeared to hurt a leg in the first half. He walked off the field when he was replaced by Eric Garcia.

Anu Fati went on as a late substitute for the 19-year-old forward’s first minute since a hamstring injury on January 21.

other results

Real Sociedad’s hopes of a place in the top four suffered a setback after a 1-1 draw at Rio Vallecano. The Basque Country side finished sixth, which is good for a berth in the Europa League, five points behind Atlético Madrid in fourth.

Substitute Radamel Falco eliminated a shot from lvaro García that had hit the post to cancel Alexander Sorloth’s opener for Sociedad in the 77th.

Granada scored a stoppage-time goal from Luis Mila to snatch a 1–1 draw with Celta Vigo, while Pere Mila equalized with six minutes to spare to save Elche a 1–1 draw at home to Osasuna.

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More Associated Press Soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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