FC Barcelona’s three-pronged trophy chase rolls relentlessly along after a week in which the Catalan giants took huge strides in both the Champions League and La Liga, the domestic league championship. With a place in the Copa del Rey final already secure – FC Barcelona play Athletic Bilbao on May 30th – a commanding lead in the Champions League semi final and a good lead in La Liga with just two rounds to play can only have gladdened the hearts of Blaugrana fans everywhere.
FC Barcelona’s La Liga championship aspirations got a big boost Saturday after they stretched their lead at the top of the table after a 2-0 defeat of Real Sociedad at Nou Camp. It was FC Barcelona’s 7th straight win without conceding a single goal, and rivals Real Madrid’s draw with Valencia at the Bernabeu later that evening left FC Barcelona with a more comfortable four point lead with just two games to play.
Following their midweek 3-0 trouncing of Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi final 1st leg, Saturday’s result leaves FC Barcelona that much closer to claiming a treble of honours in what could prove a record-breaking first season for coach Luis Enrique at the Nou Camp. Goals from Neymar and Pedro secured the three points in a game that FC Barcelona dominated from start to finish, although it was still goalless at half time, and the result wasn’t really secure until Pedro’s spectacular goal five minutes from time.
That put FC Barcelona five points ahead of rivals Real Madrid, but the Madridistas had the opportunity to close the gap back to two points in their evening game against Valencia.
But after falling behind to two early goals, hitting the woodwork three times and watching Cristiano Ronaldo miss a penalty, they could do no better than a 2-2 draw, which leaves them four points adrift of FC Barcelona.
That means FC Barcelona could secure the La Liga title as early as Saturday, when they visit defending champions Atletico Madrid, who ironically secured the title at Barcelona on the last day of last season. A win in Madrid would make FC Barcelona champions for the 23rd time and give Enrique his first title since taking the role last summer. Otherwise, they will have to try again on the last day of the season, when they host Deportivo La Coruna at the Nou Camp.
All that is, of course, if the Spanish football federation and the government resolve their differences and call off a suspension of La Liga matches scheduled to start on May 16th.
In the meantime, FC Barcelona have the 2nd leg of the Champions League semi final in Munich on Wednesday night to worry about. Even with a three-goal advantage, FC Barcelona will not be taking a match against the German giants – and their former manager, Pep Guardiola – for granted.
If all goes to plan, FC Barcelona should be even closer to their treble target come next Sunday.
(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images Sports)