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By ESPN Staff

La Liga: Barca poised as Valencia thrash sorry Real

Real Madrid suffered a 3-0 defeat at Valencia tonight which means Barcelona can be crowned Primera Division champions with victory over Villarreal tomorrow.

Juan Mata and David Villa put Los Che in the ascendancy with goals in a five-minute spell in the first half and Ruben Baraja sealed matters with a third midway through the second period.

The result leaves the two-time defending Spanish champions seven points behind arch rivals Barca, handing Pep Guardiola's team the opportunity to move out of reach tomorrow night with three matches remaining.

Valencia, meanwhile, consolidated fourth spot in the standings courtesy of tonight's triumph.

Elsewhere, third-placed Sevilla put themselves on the brink of Champions League qualification with a 3-1 win over Real Mallorca at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

The islanders took the lead in the 16th minute but from then on it was all Sevilla.

Frederic Kanoute levelled after 33 minutes with a coolly-taken penalty, with Luis Fabiano and Jesus Navas ensuring the points in the second half.

Also tonight, Athletic Bilbao's team of reserves secured top-flight survival with a deserved 1-0 home win over Real Betis.

The result gave Athletic a timely boost ahead of Wednesday night's Copa del Rey final against Barcelona.

Ion Velez's strike on the half-hour mark proved enough to give Joaquin Caparros' much-changed side the three points against an out-of-sorts Betis outfit.


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