Barca crowned champions after Real defeat
MADRID: Barcelona were crowned Spanish champions for the 19th time on Saturday as holders Real Madrid gifted the title to their bitter rivals after a 3-2 defeat at Villarreal.
Real knew anything other than a win would see Barcelona lift the title but Juande Ramos's side crashed to a third straight loss to hand the title to Barcelona. It was Barcelona's second trophy inside four days, following their Kings Cup win over Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday, as they notched a league and cup double for the first time since 1998. The Catalan giants can become the first Spanish side to win the treble if they can overcome Manchester United in the Champions League final in Rome on May 27.
Villarreal move level on points with Valencia following the Real win -- courtesy of a late goal from Joan Capdevila -- to keep up their Champions League charge. Veteran French winger Robert Pires scored the 17th-minute opener with a rare header after Ariel Ibagaza had put in an enticing cross. Real boss Ramos was visibly disappointed with the first half showing and Gonzalo Higuain replaced Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Higuain had an immediate impact setting up Rafael van der Vaart for the equaliser a minute after the break.
Villarreal responded and Cani put the hosts back in front in the 63rd minute before Higuain equalised late on, although it looked suspiciously offside. Capdevila was the hero scoring in the final minute after Real keeper Iker Casillas had dropped the ball.
Earlier third-placed Sevilla spurned a chance to secure a Champions League place following a 0-0 draw at Osasuna. Sevilla needed a win to make sure of a place in Europe's premier competition but fired blanks. Sevilla move five points ahead of fourth-placed Valencia. Osasuna continue to hover above the drop zone sitting fourth from bottom three points clear of the final relegation spot.
Meanwhile, Getafe rued a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Deportivo La Coruna at the Riazor Stadium. Roberto Soldado put Getafe ahead in the first minute of the second half and the visitors looked set to move six points clear of the relegation places. However, Riki levelled in the 85th minute as Depor salvaged a point.
Inter claim Serie A title
ROME: Inter Milan won a fourth straight Serie A title on Saturday despite not playing when nearest challengers AC Milan lost 2-1 at Udinese. Second-placed Milan trail Inter by seven points but the Rossonero have only two matches left to play.
Milan's defeat meant that Inter boss Jose Mourinho has won the scudetto in his first season in Italian football after joining in June last year. It is Mourinho's fifth title in seven years in three different countries having claimed the Portuguese crown with Porto in 2003 and 2004 and the English Premier League trophy in 2005 and 2006 with Chelsea.
Milan went into the game in Udine knowing that they had to get a result to stop their bitter city rivals claiming the title, but they put in one of their worst performances of the season in what could be one of coach Carlo Ancleotti's final matches in charge with rumours growing that he will join Chelsea next season.
The first half was a drab affair with few notable scoring chances until Udinese opened their account from the penalty spot. Antonio Floro Flores burst into the Milan box behind the backline to latch on to Geatano D'Agostino's through ball, but veteran defender Paolo Maldini leaned on him just enough to knock him off balance as he tried to take the ball around goalkeeper Dida.
Maldini, who will play only two more games for Milan this season before retiring, was perhaps lucky to escape with only a booking. However, the visitors were punished when D'Agostino fired the ball into the net from the spot-kick, high to Dida's right. That was the only clear chance of the first half although Andrea Pirlo did clip a free-kick just wide for the visitors, with Udinese goalkeeper Samir Handanovic seemingly having it well covered.
Ancelotti reacted quickly by throwing on striker Filippo Inzaghi for defensive midfielder Mathieu Flamini at the break, but four minutes later Udinese had doubled their advantage. Milan's defence went to sleep at a corner and Christian Zapata was left alone at the back post to fire home a dropping ball from barely two yards out.
Ancelotti threw on Ronaldinho and Andrei Shevchenko but it wasn't until injury time that Milan came alive. Inzaghi hit the outside of the post before Massimo Ambrosini headed home a consolation but things could have been worse as Fabio Quagliarella crashed a shot against the upright for the hosts with virtually the last kick of the match.
In Rome's Stadio Olimpico, Christian Panucci scored an injury time winner as AS Roma beat Catania 4-3 to close in on a Europa League place next season.