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News article on: Football. League.

Image associated to news article on:  Head to head makes all the difference
21 goals: Ronaldinho
14 goals: Messi
11 goals: Eto'o
6 goals: Iniesta
5 goals: Gudjohnsen and Saviola
3 goals: Giuly, Xavi and Zambrotta
2 goals: Puyol
1 goal: Ezquerro, Deco and Márquez

Head to head makes all the difference

FC Barcelona missed out on their third league title in a row, but finished second to ensure a direct ticket to the Champions League group stages.

The competition was a three-horse race between Barça, Real Madrid and Sevilla that wasn’t settled until the final day. Rijkaard’s side scored more goals than anybody else but ended the tournament neck and neck with Madrid. In many domestic competitions their superior goal difference would have won them the title, but in Spain it’s head to head that counts, so Barça missed out. With Messi and Eto'o out for much of the campaign through injury, it was an irregular tournament for Barça, but they remained unbeaten at the Camp Nou and won eight games on the road, including a spectacular 6-0 at Atlético Madrid. But two draws at the Camp Nou proved costly. Four games from the end, a Sobis equaliser in the 89th minute meant Betis snatched a 1-1 draw, and Real Madrid were able to move to the top of the table.

Everything fell back into Barça’s hands on the penultimate weekend when they led Espanyol 2-1 while Madrid were losing by the same score in Zaragoza. But in another 89th minute setback, Tamudo scored for Espanyol at the Camp Nou at precisely the same moment that Van Nistelrooy levelled affairs for Madrid at La Romareda. The final day of the season produced high drama too. Barça were cruising to what would be a 5-1 win in Tarragona, while Madrid were 1-0 down at home to Mallorca. But three late Madrid goals meant that it was not to be, and the season ended in disappointment for Barcelona.

Click here to see the statistics of the Spanish League.

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