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A hectic night of European football ended with the Spanish and Dutch league titles being sealed as Real Madrid and Ajax romped to victory to collect their 32nd and 31st league titles respectively. Over in Italy, Juventus were made to sweat it out after they allowed AC Milan to close the gap while in Ligue 1, PSG also stayed in the hunt, closing the gap on leaders Montpellier. The night belonged to the winners though as Madrid picked up the three points they needed at Athletic Bilbao as they cruised to a 3-0 victory, thus handing them their first league title in four years. Ajax needed just a point from their game against VVV-Venlo to clinch the title, but they claimed a comfortable 2-0 win to ensure Feyenoord were left behind in 2nd place. In Turin, the Old Lady wasn't crooning anymore as Juve saw their lead at the top reduced to just one point after they were held to a 1-1 draw by lowly Lecce. Milan then picked up a routine 2-0 victory against Atalanta at the San Siro to ensure the Serie A season will go down to the wire.
Athletic Bilbao 0-3 Real Madrid
Jose Mourinho's victory lap began at the San Mames last night as the 'Special One' masterminded a league triumph in a fourth different country. The night began in nervous fashion though as Cristiano Ronaldo continued to suffer from the penalty spot as he missed an early penalty. But Gonzalo Higuain made sure the miss wasn't costly as he fired the visitors into the lead in the 16th minute with a brilliant long range effort. Mesut Ozil then added a 2nd four minutes later, thanks to a peach of a cross from Ronaldo.
The Portuguese got himself on the scoresheet five minutes into the 2nd half as Ozil provided the cross this time for the striker to head home his 44th of the season. Bilbao's night only got worse as Javi Martinez was sent off late in the game after picking up a 2nd yellow card. The Basque outfit drop to 8th spot, two behind Atletico Madrid in 6th while Madrid's seven point lead over Barca stays intact.
Barcelona 4-1 Malaga
All Barcelona could do on the night was delay Madrid's title celebrations by a few hours and they did so in style as they thrashed Malaga at home. Lionel Messi was at the heart of things as always, scoring a hat-trick that saw him break Gerd Muller's 40 year old scoring record as he took his season's tally to an astounding 67 goals. Carles Puyol had given the home side the lead in the 13th minute, which was promptly cancelled out by Rondon in the 26th minute. Messi then converted two penalties on either side of the half-time break before wrapping up his treble just after the hour mark with a cool finish from yet another Andres Iniesta assist. Malaga continue in 4th place despite that heavy loss and are favourites to seal the final Champions League spot.
Ajax 2-0 VVV Venlo
The legendary backroom duo of Frank de Boer and Dennis Bergkamp engineered a 2nd successive Eredivisie title for the Dutch giants as they held-off a strong challenge from Feyenoord. Despite needing only a point to clinch the title, Ajax went all out from the kick-off and were soon ahead thanks to Siem De Jong, who scored on the rebound after his initial header was parried by the keeper. The dominant home side then struck the post through Jan Vertonghen before De Jong got his 2nd of the night on 58 minutes to wrap the points for Ajax. Feyenoord won 4-1 at Heracles Almelo, but the three points ensured Ajax hold an unassailable six points ahead heading into the last round of fixtures.
Juventus 1-1 Lecce
Manager Antonio Conte watched in horror on the sidelines as goal-keeper Gianluigi Buffon's costly blunder cost Juve three points. The veteran keeper was caught on his heels by Andrea Bertolacci in the 85th minute and his fumble allowed the Lecce midfielder to roll the ball into an empty net to cancel out Claudio Marchisio's early opener. Juve's added sense of grievance will stem from the fact that their visitors were down to 10-men after Juan Cuadrado got his marching orders nine minutes into the 2nd half. The night began very brightly as Marchisio headed them into the lead after just 8 minutes. The home side then created numerous chances to put daylight between themselves and the relegation threatened side. But their missed opportunities eventually came back to haunt them as the draw allowed Milan to close the gap to just one point at the top while Lecce still remain in 18th place.
Milan 2-0 Atalanta
The Rossoneri have more than a whiff of the Scudetto once again as goals from Sulley Muntari and Robinho helped them on their way to a vital three points at the San Siro. The goals were separated by 81 minutes as Muntari put them ahead after 9 minutes with a well-taken goal from Kevin-Prince Boateng's setup. Robinho wrapped things up in added time as he scored on the rebound after Zlatan Ibrahimovic's strike was saved. With just two games left in the season, Milan are breathing down the neck of their great rival from Turin while Atalanta on the other hand drop to 11th position.
File Photograph Copyright: Ryu Voelkel
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