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La Liga Results 2019 Week 31: Final Scores and Updated Table After Saturday

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2019

Barcelona forward Luis Suarez, right, waves with his shirt as he celebrates with Barcelona forward Malcom, left, after he scored his side's first goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday April 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Barcelona took a giant step toward retaining the title in La Liga by beating nearest rival Atletico Madrid 2-0 at the Camp Nou on Saturday. Late goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi opened up an 11-point lead at the top of the table, with Atleti undermined by temperamental striker Diego Costa receiving a red card in the first half.

Earlier, a Karim Benzema double helped Real Madrid beat Eibar and rebound from losing in Valencia on Wednesday. Speaking of Valencia, Los Che suffered a damaging defeat in their pursuit of a top-four finish after losing to relegation-threatened Rayo Vallecano.

The day began with Espanyol scoring an impressive win in Girona, with Sergi Darder in fine form.

     

Saturday Results

  • Girona 1-2 Espanyol
  • Real Madrid 2-1 Eibar
  • Rayo Vallecano 2-0 Valencia
  • Barcelona 2-0 Atletico Madrid

     

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

🔝 @FCBarcelona 🔝 #LaLigaSantander https://t.co/qh6soM4IJB

     

Costa continued an unwanted trend for Atletico against Barca when he was red-carded after 28 minutes. The 30-year-old was told to walk following a heated verbal exchange with referee Jesus Gil Manzano.

OptaJose @OptaJose

9 - Nine Atlético's players have been sent off against Barcelona since Simeone era, triple than against any other opponent in all competition in the process. Severity https://t.co/YOtfpoY2Wx

Atleti were down a man but still made life difficult for the hosts. Messi and Co. struggled to get on track against a physical defence, packed midfield and a high-pressing forward line led by Antoine Griezmann.

When Barca did fashion chances, Jan Oblak proved a stubborn figure in the Atletico goal.

OptaJose @OptaJose

81% - Jan Oblak has saved 81 of 100 shots on target faced in #LaLiga this season (81%), the best percentage for a keeper in the Top 5 European Leagues (at least 13 games played). Fence https://t.co/TGRtaENcoo

Fittingly, it took something spectacular to get past Oblak, and Suarez duly delivered it when he thundered a curled effort in from the edge of the area.

beIN SPORTS USA @beINSPORTSUSA

🔵🔴 GOOOAAAL: It took 85 minutes, but Luis Suarez found the opener for Barcelona. #BarcaAtleti https://t.co/4Y8AKSHtWv

Eleven Sports @ElevenSports_UK

| GOAL! | Luis Suarez, take a bow! 🎯 A goal worthy of winning this match for Barcelona! https://t.co/BeoQQb0AFn

It was left to Messi to wrap up the points with a deftly taken goal four minutes from time.

He wrong-footed Oblak with a cute finish that makes another title win close to inevitable for the Blaugrana.

B/R Football @brfootball

Leo Messi now has the most wins in La Liga history 🕹 https://t.co/TNW4O3nWHN

Real needed Benzema after Marc Cardona had given Eibar the lead six minutes before the break at the Santiago Bernabeu. Fortunately, Benzema has seized the role of Los Blancos' attacking talisman since Cristiano Ronaldo left for Juventus last summer.

The Frenchman drew the hosts level just before the hour mark. Then the former Lyon ace won it nine minutes from time.

Squawka Football @Squawka

Karim Benzema has now scored 16 league goals this season; at least twice as many as any other Real Madrid player. Saving the day again. 🦸‍♂️ https://t.co/9td3jLNXVW

While Benzema is thriving, Gareth Bale is looking like an increasingly forlorn figure in the Spanish capital. The home supporters haven't been shy about chiding the 29-year-old whenever he makes a mistake.

The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast

Bale miscontrols the ball and there are a few first (half-hearted) whistles for him. 3 minutes gone.

The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast

Bale through on goal, one-on-one... Saved. Louder whistles now.

The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast

Bale shoots well wide from outside the box. Louder whistles again.

Bale hasn't managed to fill Ronaldo's shoes, and the absence of another dependable match-winner to support Benzema will continue to blight manager Zinedine Zidane's efforts to return Real to the success of recent seasons.

Valencia appeared on the way to at least a taste or former glories after brushing Real aside earlier in the week. However, Rayo burst the bubble thanks to goals from Raul de Tomas and Mario Suarez.

Rayo are still fighting for survival but have closed the gap on Villarreal to just three points. The Yellow Submarine can create a bigger cushion with a win away to Real Betis on Sunday.

Darder sent Espanyol on the way to victory when he finished smartly on 59 minutes in Girona. Cristhian Stuani equalised from the penalty spot, but Girona were denied a share of the points when goalkeeper Yassine Bounou put into his own net in the penultimate minute.

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