MADRID, (Reuters) – Barcelona must wait at least another week to wrap up the La Liga title after conceding a late goal to draw 2-2 at Athletic Bilbao yesterday before second-placed Real Madrid won 2-1 at city rivals Atletico.
Victory for Barca at the San Mames and defeat for Real in the Madrid derby at the Calderon would have given the leaders an unassailable 16-point advantage with five matches left.
Real’s comeback win meant Barca’s lead was cut to 11 points and they also pulled six points clear of Atletico, who are third and almost assured of a Champions League place for next season.
Barca must wait until after their likely elimination from Europe’s elite club competition at home to Bayern Munich on Wednesday for another chance to secure a fourth Spanish crown in five years.
“We are leaving with a bitter taste in our mouths but feeling satisfied with the job done,” Barca forward Alexis Sanchez, who netted his side’s second goal, told reporters.
With an eye on the Champions League semi-final second leg, when Barca need to overturn a 4-0 deficit against the Germans, coach Tito Vilanova initially left league top scorer Lionel Messi and playmaker Andres Iniesta on the bench.