Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals on the title-deciding day of the season, but crucially Luis Suarez went one better, netting a hat-trick, and those goals helped Barcelona pip their greatest rivals Real Madrid to the La Liga title on Saturday. Needing a win to have any chance of picking up the La Liga crown, Real Madrid did their bit, but so did Barca, who won comfortable enough at Granada to clinch their second Spanish league championship in a row.
One point separated the two teams coming into this final round of matches of the season, and with Barcelona holding the upper hand, destiny was very much in their own hands. And that responsibility was taken by Suarez, who struck all three goals in a 3-0 win over Granada, with Real Madrid beating Deportivo La Coruna 2-0, courtesy a Ronaldo brace, to finish second in the La Liga, a solitary, but extremely substantial, point behind the champions.
Real Madrid were the ones who started the goalscoring in the two 5 p.m. local time (8.30 p.m. IST) kickoffs, with Ronaldo finding the back of the net on eight minutes in their game against Deportivo La Coruna. It was Gareth Bale, who created the goal, going on a searing run down the Real Madrid left, before finding a cutback for Karim Benzema. The Frenchman horribly mishit his shot, but the ball fell kindly for Ronaldo at the far post, with the Portuguese calmly passing the ball into the net.
If Barcelona were under pressure from the goal, it did not really tell, even if they struggled to create some clearcut chances, with the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Suarez looking busy, trying to unlock the Granada defence. The closest they came in the early stages was when Gerard Pique saw his header saved off the line by the Granada goalkeeper â€“ had there been goalline technology in La Liga, it might have been interesting, because the ball might have crossed the line before it was swatted away, even if there was no way to tell for sure from the replays.
It did not matter, however, as Suarez opened the scoring for Barcelona in the 22nd minute. It was a nice move from Barcelona, with Jordi Alba and Neymar playing a one-two, before the former squared the ball perfectly for Suarez to slot into an empty net.
Real Madrid made it 2-0 on 26 minutes, as Ronaldo headed home off a corner, but the title race ended as a contest, as Suarez struck his 39th La Liga goal of the season, firing his own header off a cross from Dani Alves.
The second half was just about seeing off the game, really, for both teams, with Real Madrid knowing the title race was over, and Barcelona adding a final goal, via Suarez, before starting the celebrations.