Real continue to wait for title
Villarreal have slim hopes of winning La Liga, but Real still hold a 10-point lead.
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2008 07:29 GMT

Dutch duo Arjen Robben, left, and Wesley Sneijder, celebrate Real Madrid's win over Athletic Bilbao [AFP]

Bernd Schuster, Real Madrid's German coach, will have to wait at least one more week to celebrate after Villarreal denied the Spanish giants the chance to clinch their 31st La Liga title.
Villarreal defeated Real Betis 1-0 early on Sunday to retain a slim chance of winning the Spanish title race, even though Real's 3-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao kept their advantage at the top of the at 10 points with four games to play.
"I would have liked to have won the championship in front of our own fans. All our fans had high hopes that we could have done it tonight. It's a pity but that the way it is," said Schuster.

"What pleased me was the way the players responded. Just a few minutes before they went out on the pitch they knew that Villarreal had won, they knew they couldn't win the title tonight and they could have relaxed and that would have been very dangerous.

" ...their attitude was perfect and the atmosphere in the stadium was perfect."

Bernd Schuster,
Real Madrid coach
"However, their attitude was perfect and the atmosphere in the stadium was perfect. We made a few defensive mistakes in the first half but we did some good work in the second half."

Javier Saviola put Real ahead midway through the first half but Athletic constantly threatened to equalise until the introduction of Arjen Robben and Gonzalo Higuain after 71 minutes.

The fresh players helped Real take control, with both second-half substitutes scoring late goals.

Destiny awaits

The victory over the Basques means that Real's destiny is in their hands but they have to win at a notoriously hostile Osasuna next Sunday.

"I would have prefered not to win the title in another stadium but I also want to win the championship as quickly as possible," said Schuster.

"Osasuna historically has not been an easy ground for Real Madrid but I'm not worried because now everything depends on us and we have a game at home after that."

Schuster, along with every other Real fan, is well aware that the next home game is against bitter rivals Barcelona on May 7.

Real are likely to be able to make Barca suffer when they visit the Santiago Bernabeu.

If Real clinch the title in Osasuna, by no means a certain thing as they are battling to avoid getting dragged into the relegation battle, protocol dictates that the Barcelona players from a guard of honour as Real come on the pitch the following week.

On the other hand, if the title eludes Real again in Osasuna's intimidating and claustrophobic Reyno de Navarra stadium, then the defending champions could win the title against their oldest enemy.

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