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Barcelona celebrations on hold

BARCELONA must wait a little longer to clinch the Primera Liga title after Villarreal struck back to earn a dramatic 3-3 draw with a stoppage-time goal from Joseba Llorente at the Nou Camp on Sunday.

The Champions League and Copa del Rey finalists were cruising at 3-1 after first-half goals from Seydou Keita, Samuel Eto'o and Daniel Alves. But a red card for defender Eric Abidal 12 minutes from time opened the door for Villarreal, and Matias Fernandez scored from the penalty spot before Llorente squirmed clear to lash a shot high into the net for his second of the match.

The leaders have 86 points, eight ahead of Real Madrid, which lost 0-3 at Valencia on Saturday.

"We only need one more point with nine left to play for. We are effectively champions already. It would be a miracle if we don't win it now," Eto'o told Radio Marca.

Sevilla is third with 63 and Valencia fourth on 59 after both won on Saturday.

Atletico is fifth with 58 after Diego Forlan scored a last-minute winner against Espanyol, the Madrid side fighting back from 0-2 down with 10 men to win 3-2 at the Calderon.

Forlan's double took his tally for the season to 27.

A packed Nou Camp chanted Andres Iniesta's name as the game got underway in honor of the midfielder's stunning strike against Chelsea on Wednesday which took Barcelona to the Champions League final.

Coach Pep Guardiola was as good as his word, refusing to rest anyone, despite having a Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday. The only players missing from the usual line-up were the injured Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez.

Earlier, two goals from Esteban Granero helped drag Getafe away from the relegation places with a 3-0 home win over direct rival Osasuna, which played most of the match with 10 men. There was no change at the bottom after Sporting Gijon and Recreativo Huelva lost and last-placed Numancia drew.


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