Real snatch Spanish crown

Real Madrid win the La Liga title with two late goals at Osasuna.

    Gonzalo Higuain keeps the title in Madrid

    Real Madrid won their 31st league title in the most dramatic fashion when they fought their way back after a sending off and going a goal down to snatch a 2-1 victory at Osasuna.

    With Villarreal beating Getafe 2-0 in an earlier match, Real had to win the game to take the championship but suffered a major setback when defender Fabio Cannavaro was dismissed at the start of the second half.

    Real looked to be in even more trouble when Osasuna midfielder Patxi Punal struck home from the penalty spot after centre-back Gabriel Heinze had handled in the area with eight minutes to go.

    But Dutch winger Arjen Robben equalised in the 87th, heading in after Gonzalo Higuain whipped a free kick into the area and the Argentine struck the winner when he lashed past Ricardo a minute from the final whistle.

    With three matches left to play, Real have an unassailable 10-point lead over Villarreal at the top of the table.

    "This team demonstrated that it has guts, determination, everything," Real president Ramon Calderon told Canal Plus television.

    "This team can never be written off and they won the title in heroic fashion. Winning the title two years in a row is a huge achievement."

    Villarreal made sure Real had to win the game by beating Getafe 2-0 at home, Turkish striker Nihat Kahveci scoring both goals with neat finishes either side of halftime.

    The victory meant that Manuel Pellegrini's side retain their four-point advantage over Barcelona in the race for second place.

    Bojan Krkic provides impact off
    the bench yet again [AFP]

    Valencia hit for six

    The Catalans rediscovered some form themselves when they hammered a beleaguered Valencia 6-0 at the Nou Camp, to record their first win in six games.

    France striker Thierry Henry and youngster Bojan Krkic scored two goals apiece while Lionel Messi weighed in with a penalty and Xavi with a fine 20-metre drive.

    Valencia, who have lost five of their last six league games, remain just two points above the relegation zone.

    Real Murcia were relegated after they squandered a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at high-flying Racing Santander and will now join Levante in the second division.

    With Osasuna fighting for survival in the top flight, goalscoring opportunities were at a premium in an intense and hard-fought contest at a rain-soaked Reyno de Navarra.

    Osasuna fought tooth and nail in midfield and kept Real at bay for the remainder of the half and they received a major boost when Cannavaro was sent off after picking up a second booking for a foul on Czech midfielder Jaroslav Plasil.

    Real looked as they would have to put the champagne on ice when Punal fired home from the penalty spot, but showed the sort of determination and fighting spirit that has characterized their season to battle to victory.

    Robben got in front of two defenders to nod in past Ricardo and the unmarked Higuain sparked wild celebrations among his team mates when he fired past the keeper after Sergio Ramos slid the ball to his feet on the right side of the area.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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