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Barcelona held, Real Madrid end La Liga campaign with 12th loss

Lionel Messi

Bengaluru, May 20: Barcelona captain and La Liga top scorer Lionel Messi rounded off a spectacular season by netting twice in a 2-2 draw away to Eibar in the champions' final game, taking his tally to a remarkable 36 league goals while arch-rivals Real Madrid's disappointing season came to a fittingly miserable end as they slumped to 12th defeat, losing 0-2 at home to Real Betis.

Eibar went ahead in the 20th minute with a strike from Barca's on-loan midfielder Marc Cucurella which squirmed under keeper Jasper Cillessen but Messi levelled in the 31st after sneaking into the box to meet a pass from Arturo Vidal.

Messi struck again a minute later, racing through the middle unchallenged to latch on to a pass from Ivan Rakitic and calmly chip the outstretched keeper Marko Dmitrovic.

But Eibar's Pablo de Blasis levelled right before halftime with a superb one-touch strike from long range after the ball fell into his path following a desperate header away from Cillessen, who looked in shaky form ahead of next week's Copa del Rey final against Valencia.

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Barca, who clinched an eighth title in 11 seasons with three games to spare, finished the campaign on 87 points, 11 clear of runners-up Atletico Madrid and 19 ahead of Real Madrid in third.

Results | Points table

At Santiago Bernabeu, many fans left the stadium early and those who stayed booed the players off the pitch as Real continued their dismal run.

Real slump

With Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and Thibaut Courtois all sitting on the bench, Betis forward Loren Moron put the visitors in front in the 61st minute, completing a sweeping counter-attack by slamming the ball into the roof of the net from close range.

Former Madrid forward Jese Rodriguez tapped into the net unmarked in the 75th to seal the victory for Betis, who finished the season 10th in the standings but have earned away victories at the Camp Nou and the ernabeu.

Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane would not be drawn on whether Bale or goalkeeper Keylor Navas would leave the club, but said players' futures could not dictate whether or not he picked them.

"I don't know if it's their last game or not, I don't know what's going to happen. Keylor (Navas) played well but we'll see what happens next season," he said.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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Story first published: Monday, May 20, 2019, 11:18 [IST]
Other articles published on May 20, 2019
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