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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 2, 2012

Real Madrid seal title, Messi record

Real Madrid sealed the Spanish La Liga title in style with a 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao at the San Mames on Wednesday.

Goals from Gonzalo Higuain, Mesut Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo saw Los Blancos to victory, as the Basque side finished the encounter with ten-men, with Javi Martinez dismissed for a second bookable offence.

An early penalty miss from Ronaldo prolonged the tension for Real fans, but it was not long before they were on their way to an ultimately comfortable victory. Higuain opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a superb 18-yard effort into the top corner, before Ozil doubled Madrid's advantage four minutes later with a far-post finish from Ronaldo's brilliant low cross.

Ronaldo got on the scoresheet himself five minutes after half-time when he headed home Ozil's corner for his 44th league goal of the campaign to all but end any hope of Europa League finalists Athletic getting back into the match.

The success means Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, who is in second season at the Bernabeu, has now won league titles in four different countries having been victorious with Porto (Portugal), Chelsea (England) and Inter Milan (Italy).

Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick to break the record for most goals scored in a European season as Barcelona in a convincing 4-1 win over Malaga.

Carles Puyol fired Pep Guardiola's side in front at the Nou Camp, only for that lead to be cancelled out by Jose Salomon Rondon.

But Messi scored twice from the penalty spot before wrapping up his treble with a low drive to take his tally to 68 goals for the campaign, passing the previous mark of 67 set by Gerd Muller in 1972-73.

Aritz Aduriz and Jonas Oliveira both scored twice in the final 20 minutes as Valencia ensured they will finish in the top four for the third consecutive season with an easy 4-0 victory over 10-man Osasuna.

Benat Etxebarria fired home an injury-time free-kick to hand Real Betis a dramatic 2-1 derby victory and deal a potentially fatal blow to Sevilla's hopes of claiming a UEFA Europa League qualifying place.

Etxebarria's low drive dragged Betis level on points with their neighbours on 46 points but leaves the pair four points off sixth-placed Atletico Madrid with two games to go.

Edu Oriol's early goal was enough to give Real Zaragoza a vital 1-0 win that boosted their survival hopes and dented Levante's Champions League aspirations at La Romareda.

Oriol's 11th-minute strike from the edge of the area gave Zaragoza the spoils and moved them to within three points of 17th-placed Rayo Vallecano with two games remaining, although they are at a disadvantage in terms of their head-to-head record.

Real Mallorca kept alive their hopes of European football next season with a narrow 1-0 win over strugglers Rayo Vallecano.

Gonzalo Castro was the match winner with a goal in the 62nd minute, while a fifth straight defeat left the visitors nervously looking over their shoulders.

Carlos Vela scored deep into injury time to salvage a 1-1 draw for Real Sociedad and almost certainly end any remaining hope Atletico Madrid had of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

The hosts were given the lead by a rare moment of quality in an otherwise disappointing game 10 minutes into the second half as Gabi's firmly struck shot from 25 yards gave Claudio Bravo no chance.

However, the goalscorer undid some of his good work by picking up two yellow cards in quick succession to leave his side a man down for the final 17 minutes and that pressure told as Vela scrambled home from only a yard out to earn his side a draw.

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