That’s it for tonight’s blog, though we’ll have a match report shortly. Thanks for your company – goodnight!
Real Madrid have won the title for the time since 2017. Barcelona have been a mess but that’s not Real’s problem, and nobody can argue with a run of ten straight wins since lockdown. That sort of form brooks no argument: Real are deserved champions of Spain, and they’re still in the Champions League…
REAL MADRID ARE CHAMPIONS OF SPAIN FOR THE 34th TIME!
Full time: Real Madrid 2-1 Villarreal Peep peep!
NO GOAL! Real Madrid 2-1 Villarreal
The ball hit Benzema’s arm in the build-up.
Marco Asensio has sealed Real’s 34th title. It was made superbly by Vinicius, who charged into the area, beatr his man with a lovely turn and slid the ball across to give Asensio an open goal. But here comes VAR…
GOAL! Real Madrid 3-1 Villarreal (Asensio 90+5)
REAL MADRID ARE CHAMPIONS!
90+2 min: What a chance for Villarreal! Ontiveros’s wobbling free-kick is punched away by Courtois, who then makes a brilliant save to keep Real ahead! He could only punch Ontiveros’s dangerous, bouncing cross as far as Bruno, who steered it straight back towards goal. Courtois adjusted his feet to make a fine save with his legs. The ball rebounded to Iborra, who somehow put it wide from six yards!
90+1 min Vinicius is penalised for handball 30 yards from goal…
90 min Real are almost home, though there will be six minutes of added time.
87 min Chakla misses a good chance, volleying over the bar from 12 yards after a scramble at a corner. This is threatening to go all Raul Tamudo on Real.
86 min It’s still Barcelona 1-1 Osasuna, but Osasuna are down to ten men.
85 min A triple change for Real: Isco, Fede Valverde and Lucas Vazquez replace Carvajal, Modric and Kroos.
GOAL! Real Madrid 2-1 Villarreal (Iborra 83)
It’s not over yet. The substitute Vicentre Iborra brings Villarreal back into the match – and Barcelona back into the title race – with an immense header from Mario’s right-wing cross. He was 15 yards out and strained every sinew to hang in the air and loop a header into the far corner.
81 min Kroos hits the underside of the bar with a rasping long-range drive, and Asensio heads the rebound too close to Asenjo.
80 min Vinicius moves into the area and hits a shot that is well blocked by Chakla.
79 min “Come on Matt Dony!” says Simon Frank. “Whilst I’ll admit that Barcelona have disappeared up their own backsides of late, there simply isn’t a club side in any sport that is smugger than Real Madrid – a club, lest we forget, that in their centenary year a decade or so ago insisted to Fifa that no club side anywhere in the world be allowed to play a fixture on their 100th birthday.”
GOAL! Real Madrid 2-0 Villarreal (Benzema 77 pen)
Benzema drags an excellent penalty into the bottom-left corner. That was all very strange – and Villarreal are still arguing that it shouldn’t have been retaken – but the upshot is that Real Madrid are champions of Spain for the 34th time!
PENALTY FARCE! Oh this is too good. Ramos rolled his studs over the ball at the penalty, allowing Benzema to run on and score. But Benzema encroached, so it will be taken again, this time by Benzema.
PENALTY TO REAL!!
73 min Ramos nicks the ball on the halfway line, lumbers all the way to the penalty area and falls over under Chakla’s challenge. I’m not sure that should be a penalty, but it is.
70 min “Hi Rob,” says David Correia, “I agree with Kari’s comments about Zidane. He made football look easy, so we shouldn’t be surprised he did the same for managing.”
Wait until he headbutts Pep Guardiola in the chest at the Etihad next month.
69 min Courtois continues. I don’t know enough about concussion or concussion protocols to pass judgement, but it’s a bit of a surprise because he took quite a whack from Quintilla.
68 min Courtois charges to the edge of the area to make a fine interception from Quintilla, who accidentally knees Courtois in the head in the process. There’s a break in play while Courtois is treated.
66 min I suppose a dullish 1-0 win, with a goal from Benzema, would be an appropriate way for Real to win the title. They have conceded only 22 goals in 36 and a half matches.
GOAL! Barcelona 1-1 Osasuna (Messi 62)
Our Lionel has equalised at the Camp Nou. A reminder that Barcelona need to win tonight or Real will win the title whatever happens in this game.
63 min Ontiveros belts a free-kick over the bar from 25 yards. A double change for Villarreal: Vicente Iborra and Santi Cazorla replace Morlanes and Gomez.
62 min A double change for Madrid: Hazard and Rodrygo are replaced by Marco Asensio and Vinicius Junior.
61 min Modric is booked for what looked a good tackle on Ontiveros. I thought Modric had been booked earlier, but it seems that yellow card went to Carvajal for dissent.
60 min Mendy charges thrillingly between Gomez and Mario, only to cross too close to Asenjo.
60 min Real have the game under control, even if it is less one-sided than in the first half.
57 min “I’ve had a substantial soft-spot for Madrid since McManaman’s days there, and like most right-thinking football fans, I found the Galacticos era hilariously entertaining,” says Matt Dony. “And then, even though it’s all gone a bit sour, there was Bale. A quiet lad from Cardiff hoovering up European Cups. I also despise Barcelona, and the smug sanctimony that seems to accompany everything they do. Mes Que Un Club? No, thank you. Long story short, this has already been a pretty good season. Madrid bearing Barca to the title would be an unexpected bonus. Hala Madrid!”
56 min The good news for Barcelona is that they’ve finally had a shot on target against Osasuna. The bad news is they’re still losing 1-0.
55 min “Hello Rob,” says Kári Tulinius. “I think the difficulties Zidane has with being properly rated as a manager is that he makes top-level management look absurdly easy. He has the air of someone who just turns up five minutes before kickoff and tells his players to go out there and have fun. Of course the failures of genuinely good managers with the same group of players disproves that, but Zidane still has that air about him.”
That’s a very astute observation.
54 min: Good save from Asenjo! Modric waved a beautiful pass done the inside-right channel to Carvajal, who cut back inside two Villarreal defenders and hit a left-footed shot from eight yards that was beaten away by Asenjo.
53 min Given the stakes, this has been a slightly bloodless match. I suppose that will change if Villarreal equalise and Madrid need to push for a winner.
49 min Villarreal have made a more positive start to the second half. Morlanes flips a dangerous pass over the Madrid defence that just runs away from Moreno.
Villarreal have made a double substitution at half-time: Bruno Soriano and Javier Ontiveros are on for Ruben Pena and Samuel Chukwueze.
Half time: Real Madrid 1-0 Villarreal
Peep peep! Real are 45 minutes away from the title thanks to Karim Benzema’s goal. They controlled the first half against a defensive Villarreal, albeit without creating many chances. With Barcelona losing at home to Osasuna, it will need a three-goal swing – two at the Camp Nou, one at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium – to stop Real winning the league tonight.
44 min Modric plays a great pass out inside Quintilla for Rodrygo, who drives a low cross into the six-yard box that is booted away by Chakla at the far post.
41 min As things stand, Real are seven points clear of Barcelona with one game remaining.
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