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Football

Messi blasts 'weak' Barcelona as title defence ends with home loss to Osasuna


Barcelona’s reign as La Liga champions came to an embarrassing end as 10-man Osasuna grabbed an injury-time winner at the Camp Nou.

The 2-1 defeat meant Real Madrid would be champions regardless of their result against Villarreal, but Zinedine Zidane’s side pulled off a 2-1 win to open a seven-point gap at the top. Lionel Messi, whose sublime free kick was the only high point for the hosts, aimed an angry broadside at “the entire club” after the defeat.

“We didn’t expect to finish in this way, but it sums up the year for us,” Messi told Spanish TV. “We are a weak team who can be beaten with enough intensity and enthusiasm. We have lost a lot of points which we shouldn’t have done [and] been very inconsistent. We need to be self-critical, starting with the players but also across the entire club. We are Barcelona, and we are obliged to win every game.”

Osasuna took the lead when Adrián López set Pervis Estupiñán free with a clever pass down the left, and his cross was drilled into the bottom corner by striker José Arnaiz in the 16th minute. Messi hit the crossbar with a free kick in the 22nd minute but Barça struggled to create any other clear chances before half-time.

Martin Braithwaite thought he had equalised early in the second half but Messi was found to be offside in the buildup. The Argentinian made amends in the 62nd minute, curling a left-footed free-kick into the top corner from 25 yards out. Luis Suárez then saw another effort ruled out for a marginal offside.

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The hosts had been much improved in the second half and sensed the chance for victory with 13 minutes to play, after Osasuna substitute Enric Gallego was sent off for an elbow. But as Barcelona pushed forward in search of a winner, Roberto Torres caught the home defence flat-footed and smashed home from Kike Barja’s cross.

Leganés will take their dramatic bid to beat the drop to the final day of the season after winning 2-0 at 10-man Athletic Bilbao, but Real Mallorca are going straight back down to the second tier after a 2-1 home defeat to Granada.

Leganés players celebrate their second goal at Athletic Bilbao.



Leganés players celebrate their second goal at Athletic Bilbao. Photograph: Luis Tejido/EPA

Athletic goalkeeper Unai Simon was sent off in the 22nd minute for bringing down Leganés winger Bryan Gil, giving the visitors a golden opportunity to pick up their third win in four matches. It took until the 79th minute for the breakthrough to come, with Miguel Ángel Guerrero scoring the vital goal before fellow substitute Roger Assalé added a second in stoppage time.

The win leaves Leganés one point behind Celta Vigo, who lost 3-2 at home to Levante after a dramatic contest. Enes Bardhi put the visitors 2-0 up but Santi Mina and Iago Aspas pulled Celta level. Borja Mayoral restored Levante’s second-half lead, but they saw Jorge Miramón sent off just before the hour.

Celta thought they had grabbed a point at the death through Gabriel Fernández but his effort was ruled out by VAR for offside. As the hosts waited for the verdict, striker Nolito was sent off for his repeated protests to the referee. Leganés host champions Real Madrid on Sunday, while Celta visit relegated Espanyol.

Alavés secured their top-flight status with a 2-1 away win at Real Betis thanks to goals from Joselu and defender Rodrigo Ely, who was later sent off. Atlético Madrid won 2-0 at Getafe, a result that allowed Real Sociedad to edge into sixth with a 0-0 draw at home to Sevilla. Valencia are still in the race for Europe after Kevin Gameiro earned them a 1-0 win over Espanyol.

In Serie A, Internazionale moved up to second after thrashing bottom club Spal 4-0 away from home. Antonio Conte’s side closed the gap to leaders Juventus to six points with five games to go, and left Spal 11 points adrift and all but certain of relegation.

Alexis Sánchez continued his revival as he set up the first goal for Antonio Candreva in the first half and then added the third himself on the hour. Cristiano Biraghi and Roberto Gagliardini scored the other goals. In Thursday’s other game, Torino eased their relegation fears with a 3-0 win over Genoa, who remain a point outside the bottom three.



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