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Guardiola off as Barcelona loses 1-0 to Osasuna

BARCELONA coach Pep Guardiola was red carded near the end of the new Spanish league champion's 1-0 defeat against lowly Osasuna yesterday.

Guardiola, who will lead Barcelona into Wednesday's Champions League final, was sent off after protesting the 81st-minute ejection of substitute Marc Muniesa, leading an annoyed crowd at Camp Nou to wave white handkerchiefs at referee Antonio Rubinos Perez.

Minutes later, a spectator dressed in a Barcelona shirt invaded the field and held his finger to his head as if questioning the referee's sanity before he was hauled away by security staff.

Osasuna applauded a second-string Barcelona onto the field then notched the game's only goal in the 26th minute when Walter Pandiani headed in midfielder Jaroslav Plasil's corner.

Barcelona's loss was its second straight since it won the league and Copa del Rey titles, while Osasuna's win kept alive its hopes of remaining in the topflight.

The Catalan club also undercut its hopes of beating Madrid's record of 107 goals in a league season, set in 1989-90. Barcelona now needs four from its final game at Deportivo La Coruna.

Despite the defeat, Barcelona held post-match celebrations of its triumphant season, displaying the two trophies. Guardiola and captain Carles Puyol addressed the crowd amid music, lights and fireworks.

In other games, Sevilla ensured a third-place finish by beating Deportivo 1-0, while Recreativo Huelva and Numancia became the first teams to be relegated after each losing 1-0 to Racing Santander and Getafe respectively.

Other results were: Athletic Bilbao 1, Atletico Madrid 4; Villarreal 3, Valencia 1; Valladolid 1, Sporting Gijon 2; Almeria 0, Espanyol 3; and Malaga 1, Real Betis 1.

After 37 games, Barcelona stayed with its league record tally of 86 points. Runner-up Madrid, which hosts Mallorca today, had 78, 11 more than Sevilla. Atletico followed with 64, Villarreal 62 and Valencia 59.

Guardiola rested most of his first-teamers for the final of Europe's top competition against Manchester United.

However, Guardiola included Samuel Eto'o, who began the game as Spain's top scorer with 29, although he then withdrew the Cameroon striker in favor of Seydou Keita on the hour.

Sevilla's Diego Perotti headed home Adriano Correia's cross in injury time to beat Deportivo and give his team an automatic berth in next season's Champions League.

Atletico striker Diego Forlan overtook Eto'o in the scoring chart with goals against Bilbao in the 73rd, 78th and 87th - through a penalty - to take his tally to 31.

Raul Garcia's shot gave Atletico the lead from the edge of the area in the 59th, with Xabier Etxeita equalizing for Bilbao nine minutes later.

Atletico's win moved it closer to a place in the Champions League qualifying round.

Villarreal became the only team which can deny Atletico by beating Valencia and leaving its opponent out of contention for the Champions League.

Villarreal striker Joseba Llorente scored in the 15th and 31st with David Villa reducing the deficit in the 41st with his 26th goal of the season.

Ruben "Cani" Gracia fired Villarreal's third in the 67th.

Recreativo's hopes of prolonging its three-year stay in the first division was ended by Santander striker Nikola Zigic's 76th-minute goal.

Meanwhile, Getafe striker Roberto Soldado's 61st-minute strike snuffed out the survival hopes of Numancia, which was promoted at the end of last season.

However, Gijon's fears of avoiding a similar swift return to the second division were boosted by its victory at Valladolid.

Diego Camacho gave the visitor a 43rd-minute lead, with Jonathan Sesma leveling for Valladolid in the 69th, only for Mate Bilic to secure Gijon's win in the 78th.

Espanyol was assured of safety after a comfortable win at Almeria, which came courtesy of two goals from Ivan Alonso and one from Ferran Corominas.

However, Betis remained in relegation trouble after a draw at Malaga.

Edu Schmidt scored for Betis in the 43rd, with Albert Luque leveling for Malaga in the 81st.


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