Madrid, Mar 3 (AP/UNB) — With Real Madrid on the ropes in front of its own fans, Barcelona showed no mercy.
The Catalan club threw the knockout punch on Saturday, leaving Madrid reeling from a second consecutive demoralizing home loss by its biggest rival in less than a week.
Three days after winning 3-0 at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey, Barcelona followed up by defeating Madrid 1-0 to virtually end its hopes of winning the Spanish league title.
Ivan Rakitic scored in the first half and Barcelona held on for its third straight victory at the Bernabeu.
Barcelona, which has also now become the first team to win four in a row at the Bernabeu in the league, is 12 points ahead of Madrid with 12 matches left. The defending champions are 10 points in front of second-place Atletico Madrid, which visits Real Sociedad on Sunday.
Winning coach Ernesto Valverde remained cautious, though.
"We are not yet considering Madrid out of the title race," he said. "Atletico is not our only rival, absolutely not. We all know Madrid is capable of winning several matches in a row and getting back in contention."
Madrid is in crisis, with the Champions League the only trophy it can win this season. Coach Santiago Solari will be under pressure when his side hosts Ajax on Tuesday to defend a 2-1 first-leg lead in the round of 16.
"We have to see how we can improve," Solari said. "There is no doubt it's a significant distance to the lead in the league, but we are not going to give up. We will keep fighting until the end, in the Spanish league and Champions League."
Barcelona is gunning for three titles — the league, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League — and its players celebrated in front of the away fans after the match, while some Madrid supporters jeered their side at the end.
Madrid is winless against Barcelona in six matches in all competitions, and has lost 11 of 18 matches played against its rival in the Spanish capital.
Barcelona won 3-0 the last time the teams met in the league at the Bernabeu, and routed Madrid 5-1 at Camp Nou Stadium in their first league game this season.
After dominating in the first half on Wednesday only to collapse in the second, Madrid never looked in control on Saturday.
Barcelona created most of the chances and struck in the 26th minute. Sergi Roberto sent a pass behind the Madrid defenders for Rakitic and the midfielder chipped the ball over goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from inside the area.
Madrid pressed forward after conceding and came close to scoring a few times, but Barcelona kept threatening on the counter.
Lionel Messi was quiet for Barca. His most notable moment came when he and Sergio Ramos squared up before halftime, with the Argentina forward upset at the Madrid captain for leaving his arm high and hitting his face in a challenge.
It was the third meeting between the teams in less than a month. They also drew 1-1 in the first leg of the Copa semifinals at Camp Nou. They can only meet again this season in the Champions League. Barca drew with Lyon 1-1 in its first-leg match in the round of 16.
Japanese midfielder Takashi Inui scored a second-half winner as Alaves defeated relegation-threatened Villarreal 2-1 to move into fourth spot, the final Champions League position.
Sevilla wasted a chance to go fourth by losing 2-1 at bottom club Huesca after conceding eight minutes into second-half stoppage time. Defeat extended Sevilla's winless streak to five league games, dropping it to sixth place.
Wu Lei became the first Chinese player to score in the Spanish league when he struck in Espanyol's 3-1 win against Valladolid.
Madrid, Mar 2 (AP/UNB) —A second consecutive home loss to Barcelona on Saturday would likely end Madrid's title hopes in the Spanish league and deal a tough blow to a demanding fan base tired of seeing their team struggle against its rival recently.
Another disappointing result would also send the team into a crisis entering the final stretch of the season, with coach Santiago Solari likely paying the highest price.
Wednesday's 3-0 defeat to Barcelona at Santigao Bernabeu Stadium knocked Madrid out of the semifinals of the Copa del Rey. A repeat will drop it 12 points behind its league-leading rival with 12 games left.
Solari said his team had fully recovered from their Copa exit.
"We are back on our feet," he said Friday. "The schedule, and destiny, wanted us to face the same opponent, to play the great 'clasico' of Spanish soccer once again. We are going into the match with the same desire and the same spirit as in the previous match, trying to improve what we need to improve and repeat the things that we did well."
Madrid played a great first half on Wednesday but failed to capitalize on its scoring chances, and Barcelona scored three second-half goals to advance to its sixth straight Copa final 4-1 on aggregate.
Madrid is winless in the last five games against its rival in all competitions. It was stunned 5-1 at Camp Nou Stadium in this season's first league 'clasico' and lost 3-0 at home in the league last season. Barcelona won 10 of the last 17 matches the teams played in the Spanish capital, dating back to a 6-2 rout under coach Pep Guardiola in 2009.
"The next game is always the most important one. It's what the players are focused on," Solari said. "This is a sport that is played with heart, head and legs, and we have to put everything into this next game."
Solari knows another humiliating result could mean the end of the line for him. The former Madrid player arrived in October as an interim coach to replace Julen Lopetegui, who was fired after the teams' first meeting. Rumors about Madrid considering rehiring Jose Mourinho have increased significantly since the Portuguese coach was let go by Manchester United.
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde, in a much more comfortable situation than Solari, said he "hoped for the best" for the rival coach, but would definitely try to beat him again on Saturday.
"We are not concerned about what another loss would mean to our rival," Valverde said. "We are only thinking about what it would mean for us. We are fighting for the league title. It's a crucial match."
Valverde wasn't expecting things to run as smoothly as they did in the Copa match, though.
"It's very unlikely to get the same result when you play against the same team right away," Valverde said. "But we need the victory again, it would important for us in the league."
Barcelona has a seven-point lead over second-place Atletico Madrid, which visits mid-table Real Sociedad on Sunday.
Dhaka, Mar 1 (UNB) — Bangladesh have secured a place in the final round of the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship beating hosts Myanmar by 1-0 in their 2nd Group B Qualifying Round-2 match at the Mandalar Thiri Stadium in Mandalay on Friday.
This was Bangladesh’s 2nd win after their massive 10-0 victory against the Philippines.
Bangladesh made the difference in the day’s match when midfielder Monika Chakma scored a goal for the girls in red and green.
The Bangladeshi girls will now face China in their next game on March 3.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina congratulated the Bangladeshi girls for qualifying for the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship final round.
Dhaka, March 01 (UNB)- Epyllion Group clinched the title of the maiden edition BGMEA Cup football tournament-2019 beating Bando design Limited by 4-3 tie breaker goals in the final match at Bangladesh Army Stadium on Friday.
Commerce Minister Tipu Minshi handed over the champion and runner up trophies while Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA)president Md Siddiqur Rahman, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) president Md. Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, Former BGMEA president and footballer Abdus Salam Murshedy were also present there.
There was no goal before half an hour. Later, Epyllion and Bando scored one goal respectively in the estimated times. Afterward, Epyllion won in the tie breaker.
Bappi of Epyllion was awarded man of the match while Raju of the team got best goal keeper prize. Besides, Mridul of Bando design was considered as the best player of the tournament.
BGMEA has been organizing the football tournament since 2016.
This year, the tournament was held from February 14 to 23. A total of 15 teams divided into three groups took part in the event held at International Hope School Bangladesh’s Astro Turf playground in Uttara of the capital.
The participating others teams are Comfit Composit Knit Ltd (Chaimpion-2018), Self Innovative Fashions, Fortis Group, Apparel Industry Ltd, Mask Group, Versatile Fashions, Umpire Garments, Layla Styles, Sterling Group, Ali Garments, Tusuka Group and Torque Fashion.
Switzerland, Mar 1 (AP/UNB) — Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has been banned for an additional Champions League game for deliberately provoking a yellow card to control the timing of a one-game suspension.
UEFA says its disciplinary panel found Ramos guilty of "clearly receiving a yellow card on purpose" against Ajax two weeks ago.
He will now also miss the first leg of the quarterfinals if Madrid advances from the round of 16.
The Spain defender was booked for a foul in the 90th minute of Madrid's 2-1 win in Amsterdam in the first leg.
That triggered a one-game ban for the second leg at home, which would have cleaned Ramos's disciplinary slate for the quarterfinals.
Ramos reportedly acknowledged his intentions in a post-game interview, then retracted it in a Twitter post.