MADRID: Lionel Messi came off the bench to score the winning goal as Barcelona clinched the Spanish league title after beating Levante 1-0 at Nou Camp.
Messi, on the bench until half-time, shot past Levante goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez in the 62nd minute to claim his top-scoring 34th goal and his 46th in all competitions.
Barcelona’s win put them nine points ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid with three rounds to play but Barcelona have the better head-to-head record.
Atletico beat Valladolid 1-0 earlier in the day, forcing Barcelona to need a victory to wrap up the title this weekend before they turn their attentions to their midweek Champions League tie with Liverpool.
It was Barcelona’s second straight league title since Ernesto Valverde took over at the start of last season. It was also their eighth Liga crown in 11 years, a period during which Real Madrid have won two and Atletico one.
Barcelona have 26 league titles, second only to Madrid’s 33. They will be trying to complete a rare sweep of all three major titles this season.They host Liverpool on Wednesday in the first leg of their Champions League sem-final, and can win a fifth consecutive Copa del Rey if they beat Valencia in the final on May 25.
In Germany . . .
England winger Jadon Sancho was hit by a lighter during Borussia Dortmund’s shock 4-2 defeat by lowly Schalke in the Ruhr valley derby.
The long-time Bundesliga leaders, who had slipped behind Bayern Munich in recent weeks, had two players sent off and remain one point behind the champions, who have a game in hand.
Sancho was in some discomfort after being struck in the face by the missile after he set up Mario Goetze for the game’s opening goal in the 14th minute. The incident happened as the Dortmund players were celebrating the goal.
The 19-year-old’s assist was his 14th of the season, taking him ahead of Lionel Messi and Eden Hazard. It is the most by an English player in one of Europe’s big five leagues since Frank Lampard also assisted 14 in the Premier League in 2009-10.
Dortmund’s title aspirations suffered a significant dent as Daniel Caligiuri equalised from the spot before Salif Sane took the lead for Schalke. Marco Reus was sent off for Dortmund before Caligiuri hit his second, as Marius Wolf received the second red card.
Axel Witsel pulled one back before Breel Embolo restored Schalke’s two-goal lead.
Leipzig extended their winning run to six matches, beating Freiburg 2-1 to all but secure their place in next season’s Champions League.
Timo Werner gave Leipzig the lead inside the opening 20 minutes before Vincenzo Grifo curled home to level the scores. Leipzig substitute Emil Forsberg tapped a penalty into the corner to score the decisive goal, while Freiburg remain without a win since March 9.
A single Hendrik Weydandt goal gave bottom-of-the-table Hanover their first win since February as they recorded a 1-0 victory over Mainz.
In Italy . . .
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the 600th goal of his club career to earn Italian champions Juventus a 1-1 draw at Inter Milan in Serie A. The Turin club wrapped up an eighth successive league title last weekend but were behind early on to a brilliant strike from Inter midfielder Radja Nainggolan.
However, the Portuguese responded with a powerful finish in the second half to hit 20 league goals for the season. Inter remain in third place on 62 points, four ahead of Roma below them, while Juventus, who dropped points for just the sixth time in 34 games this season, move up to 88.
This fixture, known as the ‘Derby d’Italia’, is one of the country’s fiercest rivalries.
The home fans taunted the visitors with a pre-match mosaic of placards featuring the Champions League trophy alongside the words ‘Game Over’, referencing Juve’s quarter-final exit to Ajax Amsterdam in April.
The home support were left delighted just seven minutes in when Nainggolan latched onto Matteo Politano’s dipping pass and unleashed a swerving volley from 25 yards out that flew past Juve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny into the corner.
Ronaldo drew Juventus level after 62 minutes, exchanging passes with Miralem Pjanic before drilling a left-footed finish into the bottom corner. It was the 600th goal of the 34-year-old’s club career, with 450 having come at Real Madrid, 118 at Manchester United, 27 at Juventus and five at Sporting Lisbon.
Roma climbed into the final Champions League spot after beating Cagliari 3-0 at the Olympic stadium. Federico Fazio headed Claudio Ranieri’s side into a fifth-minute lead and Javier Pastore made it 2-0 three minutes later before Aleksandar Kolarov added a third in the closing stages.
In France . . .