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Tuesday, Apr 25th

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Lionel Messi scored a goal in virtually the last second of the game to give FC Barcelona a thrilling 3-2 win away to Real Madrid and blow the race for the Spanish football league title wide open. The result on Sunday night leaves Barcelona level on points with Real Madrid at the top of the table, although Madrid have played a game less.

A win for the home side would have virtually assured them the league title with five matches left to play, and as early as the first minute there was controversy as Ral Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo went down after a challenge from Samuel Umtiti in the Barcelona penalty area. However, television replays showed that the Real Madrid striker greatly exaggerating the contact.

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Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said on Saturday that he wanted to avoid seeing his side classed as favourites ahead of Sunday's 'El Clasico' at home to bitter rivals FC Barcelona.

A win for Madrid in probably the biggest domestic club game in the world would all but assure them being crowned as Spanish league champions for this season. Zidane's team certainly look to be in better form than Barcelona, who were knocked out of the Champions League by Italian giants Juventus on Wednesday. However, speaking to the press on Saturday, Zidane was anxious to avoid putting extra pressure on his side to perform.

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FC Barcelona striker Neymar Jr. will be unavailable for Sunday's 'El Clasico' against bitter rivals Real Madrid after Spain's Administrative Court of Sport (TAD) said on Saturday that it was unable to hear the Catalan club's bid to allow him to play.

TAD said the team's appeal arrived after the court's weekly meeting had already concluded Friday afternoon and that an extraordinary session could not be arranged for Saturday morning because the requirements for such a gathering had not been met.

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Saul Niguez's first-half goal turned out to be all that Atletico Madrid needed here to defeat Leicester City 2-1 on aggregate and reach the Champions League semi-finals for the third time in four years.

Leicester's Jamie Vardy's 61st-minute goal cancelled out Niguez's 26th-minute strike in the second leg of the quarter-final on Tuesday night but Atletico's 1-0 win plus an away goal here gave them a comfortable 2-1 win.

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Bayern Munich manager Carlo Ancelotti has come down heavily on the standard of refereeing in the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Real Madrid, saying such poor standards of officiating should never happen at this level.

"We had thought of everything going into this game -- except the referee," Ancelotti was quoted as saying by the BBC on Wednesday. "You can't decide a semi-final spot like this. It shouldn't happen at this level."

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Real Madrid booked their place in the semi-finals of the Champions League after a controversial 4-2 win at home against Bayern Munich in the return leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie to see them qualify 6-3 on aggregate.

Defending a 2-1 lead from the first half, Madrid were taken into extra time by the German club, who had midfielder Arturo Vidal unjustly sent off in the closing minutes of normal time, while Madrid's midfielder Casemiro could have seen his second yellow card of the night on two separate occasions, only to be pardoned by the referee both times.

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German football champions Bayern Munich face a serious discussion about the quality of their squad after their 1-2 defeat against Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.

In the clash with the reigning champions, it was obvious that Bayern could not afford to replace key players like Robert Lewandowski who was sidelined with a shoulder injury. And the failure to have strengthened the squad could now turn out to be a mistake as Bayern may well be eliminated after the second leg in the Spanish capital.

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