Barcelona on brink of Liga title after Real draw


MADRID: Barcelona are just one win away from a 23rd La Liga title after Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty in Real Madrid’s 2-2 draw at home to Valencia on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

The league leaders are four points clear with two games to play after earlier claiming a comfortable 2-0 win over David Moyes’s Real Sociedad thanks to goals from Neymar and Pedro Rodriguez.

Barcelona can now seal the title when they travel to reigning champions Atletico Madrid next Sunday should a potential players’ strike due for the weekend be called off.

First-half goals from Paco Alcacer and Javi Fuego gave Valencia a commanding half-time lead.

However, despite goalkeeper Diego Alves denying Ronaldo from the spot just before the break, Madrid roared back in the second-half to earn a point thanks to goals from Pepe and Isco.

“There are two games to go, we need to win them, but obviously it is more difficult (to win the league),” admitted Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti.

However, the Italian refuted suggestions the result could be a blow to his side’s confidence ahead of their crucial Champions League semi-final, second-leg against Juventus on Wednesday.

“The result isn’t good, but the performance was the complete opposite. We have a lot of chances, hit the post three times, missed a penalty, sometimes it just isn’t enough.

“We have a lot of positives from the game and if we play like that on Wednesday it will go well.”

Alcacer wasted a big early chance when he spooned over when clean through on Iker Casillas, while at the other end Gareth Bale saw a brilliant free-kick come back off the bar.

Ronaldo then also sent a header come off the frame of the goal, but it was Valencia who opened the scoring when Madrid-target Jose Gaya’s excellent low cross was turned home by Alcacer.



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