Barcelona moves second


Barcelona, May 15: Lamine Yamal and Raphinha struck to earn Barcelona a 2-0 win over Real Sociedad on Monday, taking their team second, a point above Catalan rivals Girona.

Defeat is a setback to La Real's ambitions of playing Europa League football next season, leaving them seventh behind Real Betis, who won on Sunday.

Last season's champions Barcelona are playing for nothing but pride in the final weeks of a disappointing campaign, and finishing above high-flying minnows Girona is imperative to achieve even a modicum of that. Real Madrid sealed their title win at a canter after Barcelona were beaten 4-2 by Girona little over a week ago.

Barca's brightest light Yamal opened the scoring after 40 minutes and Raphinha added a late penalty to seal the win.

"La Real are a great team, it's an important victory for us, we had a good game in general," Barca coach Xavi told Movistar.

Xavi benched Uruguayan centre-back Ronald Araujo, bereft of form this season and whose red card against Paris Saint-Germain contributed heavily to their Champions League collapse. With Madrid swiping La Liga back off the Catalans, they end the season trophy less and licking their wounds. Barcelona face Almeria on Thursday and Rayo Vallecano on Sunday as they try to stay in second place.

Duran salvages draw for Villa 

Jhon Duran struck twice in the final five minutes to salvage a 3-3 draw for Aston Villa against Liverpool but they fell short of guaranteeing a place in next season's Champions League on Monday.

Villa looked set for a fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions as an Emiliano Martinez own goal and strikes from Cody Gakpo and Jarrell Quansah put the visitors on course for victory in Jurgen Klopp's final away game in charge.

But substitute Duran's double edged Unai Emery's men closer to Europe's top table for the first time since 1983.

"Just a brilliant effort towards the end," said Villa captain John McGinn. "It's been a tough couple of weeks. The manager won't admit it but the boys are out on their feet, giving absolutely everything.

"Big Jhon is a bit nuts," added McGinn. "He's a nightmare sometimes to have in your team but he's got moments of quality."

A point for Liverpool may be meaningless in their quest to win the title as wins for Manchester City and Arsenal over the weekend mathematically ended the chance of Klopp departing as a Premier League winner. (AFP)

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