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Ronaldo winner puts Real in sight of title

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winner that all but ended Barcelona’s Spanish title hopes and secured a rare victory for Real Madrid in the Nou Camp stadium. It meant that Barcelona had lost two matches in six days. The supposed best team in the world is beginning to look vulnerable.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola had said before the game that defeat or a draw would hand the title to Jose Mourinho’s Real. Alexis Sanchez had just levelled the match at 1-1, when Ronaldo sidestepped the Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes and restored Real’s lead.

"I congratulate Real Madrid on their victory and on the league title," Guardiola said after the match. The manager now has to restore morale ahead of the second leg of the Champions League semi-final against Chelsea. "Right now the players are tired and sad and I can't say if there will be a psychological effect for the Chelsea game," he said.

Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso wasn’t quite ready to claim the title. "We have struck a very significant blow but it's not yet decisive," he said. "Of course it's an important step towards the title but now we have to see it home. Cristiano's goal, coming straight after they levelled, broke their stride and that was fundamental. We controlled the match perfectly. It was a great performance, a fantastic result and I am very happy."

Barcelona may have a chance for revenge if the two sides can get through to the Champions League final in Munich. Both have to overhaul deficits from their first leg matches.

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