Barca Crowned La Liga Champions With Win Over Atlético

Lionel Messi\'s goal in the 65th minute gave them an 1-0 win over defending champions Atlético Madrid.

Published: 18th May 2015 12:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th May 2015 12:44 AM   |  A+A-

Messi-Neymar-AP
By AP

BARCELONA, (Spain): Lionel Messi scored the goal that clinched the Spanish league title for Barcelona on Sunday, securing a 1-0 win at dethroned champion Atletico Madrid.

Gallery-->> FC Barcelona's Title Win in Pictures

Messi slotted in the decisive goal in the 65th minute after working a sublime one-two passing combination with Pedro Rodriguez, who started for the injured Luis Suarez.

It was the Catalan club's 23rd league crown and its seventh in the last 11 years as it reestablished itself as the dominant Spanish club of the past decade.

Exactly a year to the day since Atletico won the league in a title decider at Barca's Camp Nou, the Catalans exacted some measure of revenge to seal the first of a potential treble of trophies this season.

A year after not winning a major title, Luis Enrique's side can now focus on the final of the Champions League and the Copa del Rey as it aims for a treble of trophies.

"We're very happy of this glorious era with so many titles," said Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets. "Last year we weren't up to the challenge to win any competitions, but this year we are on a good path and this is only the first. This winning era hadn't ended. What Pep Guardiola started with Messi, Xavi, Iniesta is still going. We have one title now and are two more wins away from a historic season."

Real Madrid will finish runner-up despite Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat trick in a 4-1 win at Espanyol. It trails Barcelona by four points with one round left.

Atletico, which won the title last year in a winner-take-all finale at Barcelona, was left in third place.

With Suarez out nursing a left hamstring injury, Messi moved into the center of Barcelona's attack and had four shots in the first 20 minutes. He first sent two efforts into the hands of goalkeeper Jan Oblak before firing high and heading a ball off the arm of Juanfran Torres in the area, which went unpunished by the referee.

Messi next clipped the crossbar with a free kick in the 34th before Dani Alves' dipping strike from long range forced Oblak to tap it over his bar just before halftime.

Barcelona kept up the pressure until Messi and Pedro finally broke down Atletico's defense, when the Argentina forward used his left boot to fire the ball inside the post for his 41st league goal of the season and his 54th in as many games in all competitions.

Ronaldo's goals— he leads the league with 45— were once again not enough for Madrid to better Messi's Barcelona, and Carlo Ancelotti's team will end the season without a major title.

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