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Tie means title must wait for Barça as Real earns derby win

Messi makes impact for leader while Ronaldo forced to sit out win over Atlético

Real Madrid's Ángel di Maria (l) celebrates with Álvaro Morata after scoring dagainst Atlético. Ampliar foto
Real Madrid's Ángel di Maria (l) celebrates with Álvaro Morata after scoring dagainst Atlético. AFP

Second-place Real Madrid lived to fight another weekend in La Liga after grinding out a routine victory against cross-city rival Atlético and leader Barcelona only managed a 2-2 tie against Athletic Saturday.

The Catalans had needed a win in Bilbao and José Mourinho’s men to lose at the Calderón to secure the 2013 league title. But a last-minute strike from Athletic midfielder Ander Herrera match put paid to their hopes.

Playing its last-ever game in the soon-to-be demolished San Mamés, an ineffective-looking Barcelona found itself 1-0 down on 27 minutes as Markel Susaeta tucked away Aritz Aduriz’s cross. It took the introduction of Leo Messi 30 minutes from time to get moving. The Argentinean scored the 67th-minute equalizer with a superb solo effort, then made the second for Alexis Sánchez with a headed pass.

With Atleti enjoying its best season in many a year and Real fielding a Cristiano Ronaldo-less second-fiddle team ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League showdown with Borussia Dortmund, Diego Simeone’s men had hopes of a first win in 14 years ago against its local rival. Radamel Falcao’s header got them off to a perfect start after just four minutes. But Madrid had a saving Ángel in Di María. After the Argentinean’s free kick ricocheted off Juanfran for the equalizer, he slotted home again in the second half for a 1-2 win.

Other results: Espanyol 0-1 Granada; R.Vallecano 2-2 Osasuna; Levante 0-1 Celta Vigo; Zaragoza 3-2 Mallorca.