Barcelona lose curtain-closer

Madrid, May 21 :

Spanish league champion FC Barcelona ended a triumphant season with a 3-1 loss to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday to finish with a 12-point lead in the standings.

Barcelona fielded an understrength team but took a 36th-minute lead through Samuel Eto’o. The goal was the Cameroon striker’s 26th of the season, making him the winner of the league’s scoring chart with one more than Valencia’s David Villa.

Bilbao rallied after halftime through midfielder Andoni Iraola, substitute Felipe Gurendez and Oleguer Presas’ own-goal.

The last match of the season had been rescheduled after FIFA allowed the Spanish league to surpass the May 15 deadline. Barcelona ended the season with 82 points followed by Real Madrid (70) and Valencia (69). Osasuna and Sevilla ended with 68 but Osasuna finished higher due to head-to-head results. Alaves, Cadiz and Malaga were relegated.