Fri, May 09, 2008 - Page 24 News List

LFP: Real Madrid crush rivals Barcelona in El Clasico

AFP , MADRID

Barcelona's Lionel Messi, right, vies for the ball with Real Madrid's Pepe during their match at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid on Wednesday.

PHOTO: AFP

Three days after wrapping up the title Real Madrid showed Barcelona why they are the new Spanish champions, crushing their arch rivals 4-1 in El Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu 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 the 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.

Barcelona players greeted newly-crowned champions Real Madrid with a guard of honor as they ran onto the pitch.

After a 6-0 drubbing of Valencia, Barca should have been full of confidence, but that seeped away when Real got off to the dream start after just 12 minutes with Raul curling a brilliant left-footed finish past Victor Valdes.

Barca were taunted by “oles” and a chorus of “champions,” and it got worse when Robben bagged a second.

Robben said he had never scored a header after his vital goal in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Osasuna, but he repeated the trick, taking advantage of some non-existent marking.

Real were far superior and Higuain, the hero against Osasuna, 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 Barca’s shining light Lionel Messi, before Barca lost Xavi for dissent seconds before the end.

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.

Fazio scored in both halves as Sevilla leapfrogged Racing into fifth and they are now level on points with fourth-placed Atletico.

Racing are two points behind Sevilla as they rued a first half penalty miss from Aldo Duscher with the score at 0-0. Atletico remain in pole position to take fourth.

Elsewhere, Kings Cup winners Valencia are virtually safe after a 1-0 home win over fellow strugglers Real Zaragoza.

A goal from Daniel Silva, who was also sent off, guided Valencia to five points from the drop. Zaragoza stay one point above relegation.

Osasuna lost 2-1 at Real Mallorca and stay third from bottom, while Recreativo Huelva stay level on 40 points after the 0-2 loss to Villarreal.

Getafe came from two goals down to win 4-2 over Almeria and are now five points clear of the drop.

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