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Apr 20, 2014

Soccer-Messi free kick ends Barcelona’s nightmare run

MADRID, April 20 (Reuters) – Lionel Messi smashed in a superb free kick to complete a 2-1 comeback win for injury-hit Barcelona at home to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday that kept alive their slim hopes of a fifth La Liga title in six years.

After a wretched 12 days when they were eliminated from the Champions League by Atletico Madrid, beaten in the King’s Cup final by Real Madrid and suffered a shock 1-0 reverse at lowly Granada in La Liga, Barca badly needed a morale-boosting victory in front of their fans at the Nou Camp.

Apr 20, 2014

High-flying Atletico inspired by terror victim

MADRID (Reuters) – If Atletico Madrid crown a remarkable season by winning La Liga, coach Diego Simeone and his players may remember March 29 and their 2-1 comeback victory at Athletic Bilbao as the moment they truly started to believe.

The match at fourth-placed Bilbao’s daunting San Mames arena was seen as one of Atletico’s toughest of the season finale and failure would have severely dented their chances of beating Barcelona and Real Madrid to the title.

Apr 20, 2014

Soccer-High-flying Atletico inspired by terror victim

MADRID, April 20 (Reuters) – If Atletico Madrid crown a remarkable season by winning La Liga, coach Diego Simeone and his players may remember March 29 and their 2-1 comeback victory at Athletic Bilbao as the moment they truly started to believe.

The match at fourth-placed Bilbao’s daunting San Mames arena was seen as one of Atletico’s toughest of the season finale and failure would have severely dented their chances of beating Barcelona and Real Madrid to the title.

Apr 18, 2014

Atletico close on title with win over stubborn Elche

MADRID (Reuters) – Atletico Madrid stayed firmly on course for a surprise La Liga title triumph when a Miranda header and Diego Costa’s late penalty secured an unconvincing 2-0 win for the leaders at home to Elche on Friday.

David Villa had a penalty saved shortly after halftime at a raucous Calderon stadium, packed with fans enjoying their team’s best season in nearly 20 years, and nerves were jangling when centre back Miranda rose at the back post to nod a Jose Sosa corner powerfully into the net 18 minutes from time.

Apr 18, 2014

Soccer-Atletico close on title with win over stubborn Elche

MADRID, April 18 (Reuters) – Atletico Madrid stayed firmly on course for a surprise La Liga title triumph when a Miranda header and Diego Costa’s late penalty secured an unconvincing 2-0 win for the leaders at home to Elche on Friday.

David Villa had a penalty saved shortly after halftime at a raucous Calderon stadium, packed with fans enjoying their team’s best season in nearly 20 years, and nerves were jangling when centre back Miranda rose at the back post to nod a Jose Sosa corner powerfully into the net 18 minutes from time.

Apr 17, 2014

Preview – Battered Barca in La Liga last-chance saloon

MADRID (Reuters) – Barcelona’s defeat in the King’s Cup final means La Liga is their only chance of major silverware and anything other than a home win against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday would almost certainly end their dwindling title hopes.

The 2-1 reverse to Real Madrid at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium on Wednesday capped a nightmare seven days for Barca, during which they were dumped out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid and crashed to a shock 1-0 La Liga loss at lowly Granada.

Apr 17, 2014

Battered Barca in La Liga last-chance saloon

MADRID (Reuters) – Barcelona’s defeat in the King’s Cup final means La Liga is their only chance of major silverware and anything other than a home win against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday would almost certainly end their dwindling title hopes.

The 2-1 reverse to Real Madrid at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium on Wednesday capped a nightmare seven days for Barca, during which they were dumped out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid and crashed to a shock 1-0 La Liga loss at lowly Granada.

Apr 17, 2014

Soccer-Battered Barca in La Liga last-chance saloon

MADRID, April 17 (Reuters) – Barcelona’s defeat in the King’s Cup final means La Liga is their only chance of major silverware and anything other than a home win against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday would almost certainly end their dwindling title hopes.

The 2-1 reverse to Real Madrid at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium on Wednesday capped a nightmare seven days for Barca, during which they were dumped out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid and crashed to a shock 1-0 La Liga loss at lowly Granada.

Apr 17, 2014

‘Prince of Wales’ targets three crowns after Cup stunner

MADRID (Reuters) – Gareth Bale’s brilliant winner in Wednesday’s King’s Cup final against Barcelona gave the world’s most expensive player his first taste of major silverware and the Wales winger is hungry for more.

Bale was hailed as the “Prince of Wales” in the Spanish media on Thursday after he collected the ball wide on the left near the halfway line in the 85th minute at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium, shrugged off the attentions of Barca centre back Marc Bartra and charged towards goal.

Apr 17, 2014

Soccer-’Prince of Wales’ targets three crowns after Cup stunner

MADRID, April 17 (Reuters) – Gareth Bale’s brilliant winner in Wednesday’s King’s Cup final against Barcelona gave the world’s most expensive player his first taste of major silverware and the Wales winger is hungry for more.

Bale was hailed as the “Prince of Wales” in the Spanish media on Thursday after he collected the ball wide on the left near the halfway line in the 85th minute at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium, shrugged off the attentions of Barca centre back Marc Bartra and charged towards goal.