Champions Real humiliate Barcelona

Madrid, May 8:

Three days after wrapping up the title Real Madrid showed Barcelona why they are the new Spanish champions crushing their arch rivals 4-1 on Wednesday.

An 18th goal of the season for Real captain Raul, another Arjen Robben header

and strikes from substitutes Gonzalo Higuain and Ruud van Nistelrooy ensured a historic league double for Real, who won 1-0 at Camp Nou back in December, as they humiliated Barca to cap a fine season.

The loss means Barca must now qualify for the Champions League after losing second place to Villarreal who won 2-0 against Recreativo Huelva and are now seven points clear with two games remaining.

Barca players greeted newly-crowned champions Real in the guard of honour as they ran onto the pitch - a moment for Real to treasure and for Barca to try to wipe from the memory. Real got off to the dream start after just 12 minutes with Raul curling a brilliant left-footed finish past Victor Valdes. Robben bagged a second and Higuain scored a third just after the hour mark before van Nistelrooy converted a penalty.

Thierry Henry struck a late consolation for the visitors after a great pass from Lionel Messi before Barca lost Xavi for dissent seconds before the end. When the final whistle blew Real fans applauded their team for a fine season in which they have retained the championship for the first time since 1990.

Earlier Argentine midfielder Fazio was Sevilla’s hero scoring twice as the club boosted their chances of a second successive season in the Champions League with a 3-0 win at rivals Racing Santander. Sevilla leapfrogged Racing into fifth and they are now level on points with fourth-placed Atletico.

Elsewhere, Valencia are virtually safe after a 1-0 home win over fellow strugglers Real Zaragoza. A goal from Daniel Silva guided Valencia five points from the drop. Zaragoza stay one point above relegation going into their final two games of a season.

Osasuna lost 2-1 at Real Mallorca and stay third from bottom while Recreativo Huelva stay level on 40 points after the Villarreal loss. Getafe came from two goals down to win 4-2 over Almeria and are now five points clear of the drop.

Italian Cup

ROME: Ten-man Inter Milan’s virtual second string side battled to a 2-0 victory at Lazio on Wednesday to qualify for the Italian Cup final.

Following last month’s goalless semi-final, first leg at the San Siro this was a surprisingly tight affair until young Portuguese midfielder Vitor Pele’s goal separated the teams.

The champions and league leaders faced an anxious last few minutes after substitute Marco Materazzi was sent off for kicking out at Goran Pandez just a quarter of an hour after coming on. But moments later Pele turned provider for Julio Cruz to seal the victory five minutes from time.

Pele’s cross into the box caused confusion between Lazio goalkeeper Marco Ballotta and centre-back Siviglia, leaving the ball at Cruz’s feet for an easy tap in. Inter captain Javier Zanetti, who was one of the few regular starters, along with Cruz, to be included in the first 11 said he now hoped this result could inspire the club to the title on Sunday against Siena.