MADRID - Barcelona must wait a little longer to clinch the Primera Liga title after Villarreal struck back to earn a dramatic 3-3 draw with a stoppage-time goal from Joseba Llorente at the Nou Camp on Sunday. The Champions League and King's Cup finalists were cruising at 3-1 after first-half goals from Seydou Keita, Samuel Eto'o and Daniel Alves. But a red card for defender Eric Abidal 12 minutes from time opened the door for Villarreal, and Matias Fernandez scored from the penalty spot before Llorente squirmed clear to lash a shot high into the net for his second of the match. The leaders have 86 points, eight ahead of Real Madrid, who lost 3-0 at Valencia on Saturday, with three games to play. NEWS: Iniesta ruled out of King's Cup final "We only need one more point with nine left to play for. We are effectively champions already. It would be a miracle if we don't win it now," Eto'o told Radio Marca. Sevilla are third with 63 and Valencia fourth on 59 after both won on Saturday. Atletico are fifth with 58 after Diego Forlan scored a last-minute winner against Espanyol, the Madrid side fighting back from 2-0 down with 10 men to win 3-2 at the Calderon. Forlan's double took his tally for the season to 27. MEXICAN WAVES A packed Nou Camp chanted Andres Iniesta's name as the game got underway in honour of the midfielder's stunning strike against Chelsea on Wednesday which took Barca to the Champions League final. Coach Pep Guardiola was as good as his word, refusing to rest anyone, despite having a King's Cup final against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday. The only players missing from the usual line-up were the injured Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez. Villarreal were opened up after 12 minutes when Keita was put through and his shot ballooned off a defender's leg and in under the bar. But the visitors, who have their eyes on a return to Europe's elite competition next year, sliced through the home side after an interception in midfield, with Llorente sliding in for the final touch in the 22nd. A stunning one-handed save from Victor Valdes kept it all square, and dogged persistence from Andres Iniesta after a quickly taken free kick set up Eto'o for his 28th goal of the season to put Barca back in front on 36 minutes. Alves curled in a free kick from the edge of the area just before the break. Mexican waves were circling the stadium until Abidal's red card for barging into Nihat Kahveci in the area. The Frenchman, also sent off in the second leg against Chelsea, will now miss the King's Cup final as well as the Champions League final against Manchester United. Fernandez dispatched the ensuing penalty and Llorente's superb finish put a damper on the Barcelona festivities. Earlier, two goals from Esteban Granero helped drag Getafe away from the relegation places with a 3-0 home win over direct rivals Osasuna, who played most of the match with 10 men. There was no change at the bottom after Sporting Gijon and Recreativo Huelva lost and last-placed Numancia drew. BARCELONA FANS! Check FourFourTwo.com’s ever-expanding interviews section for more stuff to read: Q&A Samuel Eto'o, Cesc Fabregas Web Exclusives Cesc Fabregas, Gary Lineker One on One Mark Hughes, Thierry Henry, Ronaldo Perfect XI Gheorghe Hagi, Hristo Stoichkov, Ronald Koeman Plus! Rate Barca players (and others) on Talentspotter
10 May 2009
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