First Division - Day 38

Gimnastic Tarragona 1 - Barcelona 5

Nàstic: Rubén Pérez; Calvo, César Navas, Matellán, Marco; Chabaud, Generelo (Pinilla 56'), Morales (Merino 72'); Ismael Irurzun, Cuéllar (Grahn 64'); Portillo. 4-3-2-1.
Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Zambrotta, Puyol, Thuram (Oleguer 73'), Van Bronckhorst; Iniesta, Xavi, Deco (Motta 73'); Messi (Ezquerro 82'), Eto'o, Ronaldinho. 4-3-3.

Team changes: Nàstic: Chabaud, Cuéllar, Portillo for Carlos Merino, Juan Díaz, Rubén Castro / Barça: Ronaldinho for Gudjohnsen.

0-1. 20. Puyol. Ran on to Messi's square pass to turn ball in on near post.
0-2. 34. Messi. Picked up pass on right and curled shot wide of keeper.
0-3. 37. Ronaldinho. Free kick over defensive wall which keeper couldn't stop.
0-4. 50. Messi. Tap in from yard out after Deco's shot deflected by Calvo.
1-4. 83. Grahn. Drove shot back across Valdés from Irurzun's cross.
1-5. 89. Zambrotta. Connected with Motta pass to fire angled shot past Rubén.

Disappointment for Barcelona, who saw the league title slip through their fingers despite a 1-5 win at neighbours Gimnàstic. Knowing that Real Madrid had to drop points and they had to win to top the table, they set to it early on, with Eto'o having a goal disallowed, volleying a second chance over the bar and then heading against the post. And with twnety minutes on the clock Puyol got on the end of Messi's cross to slide the ball in to the net and open the scoring.

By then news had come in that Madrid were losing to Mallorca, and there was a festival atmosphere as Messi drifted past two defenders to score a second, and Ronaldinho curled a free kick over the wall to make it three. Messi got a fourth five minutes after the restart after Deco's shot ballooned off a defender, and Nàstic had a couple of chances themselves as the visitors took their foot off the accelerator. Eto'o could have got a fifth if her had been able to round Rubén Pérez, and Ronaldinho delighted the crowd with a spectacular over head kick which just cleared the crossbar.

But then it all went pear-shape as the transistors announced that Capello's side had turned the scoreline around. Grahn took advantage to pull one back after connecting with Irurzun's cross, and Portillo headed another effort against the bar. Zambrotta did get a fifth in the last minute, but by then the only fans still in the Nou Estadi stadium were wearing red shirts, watching the last few minutes of their side in the first division. Barça at least finished ahead of Sevilla to tie up second spot and qualify automatically for the Champions League, but for the first time in three years they ended the season without a title, and changes are expected in the Nou Camp this summer.