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The Wins that Defined Barcelona's La Liga Title - Part 1

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The first in a two-part series of the pivotal games that earned Barcelona the title

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Barcelona 1-0 Malaga

Matchday 2

6 August 2015

Malaga were considered Luis Enrique's bogey team, the only team that he did not beat in the entire 2014-15 season. Barcelona nearly let it slip for a third time against Malaga in Lucho's reign. going past the 70th minute with the score at 0-0. The goal came from an unlikely source, a half volley from Thomas Vermaelen after the ball was not convincingly cleared by Malaga's keeper Carlos Kameni. It is Vermaelen's only goal in his Barcelona career, and it may end up that way. But it demonstrated how titles are won - at the margins sometimes.

Atletico Madrid 1-2 Barcelona

Matchday 3

2 September 20153

Atletico had them where they wanted them - down 0-1 with less than one half to go, thanks to a Fernando Torres goal. But then things changed rather quickly. First, a fizzling free kick goal from Neymar a mere four minutes after Torres's goal. And then, Barcelona substitute in a fella by the name of Lionel Messi. Luis Suarez cushioned a ball towards Messi, who masterfully kissed it into the net. What a substitute to have.

Barcelona 3-0 Villarreal

Matchday 11

8 November 2015

Villarreal were one of the top teams in La Liga this year, and a Lionel Messi-less Barcelona had to cope with them directly before El Clasico. Barcelona won while Real Madrid drifted further away, exactly what you would want most heading into such a momentous match.

The Villarreal game went according to expectations - a tense 0-0 draw -until the 60th minute, when Sergio Busquets intercepted a pass and played it right away towards Neymar. The Brazilian controlled it and steered it into the net. !-0.

A Luis Suarez penalty made it 2-0, and then something magical happened. Suarez passed a long ball from the left flank towards a running Neymar. He controlled it, flipped it over a defender's head, spun 360 degrees, and hit the volley into the net. Wow.

Real Madrid 0-4 Barcelona

Matchday 12

21 November 2015

Barcelona came into El Clasico with a healthy lead in the table, and some were saying that, playing at the Santiago Bernabeu and with Messi not fit for 90 minutes, a draw would have sufficed. How wrong they were - a draw would have ultimately given Real Madrid a lead on the head-to-head tiebreaker, not to mention points, in the final count.

And why would Barcelona have settled for a draw when they were this sensational? It wasn't just Neymar and Luis Suarez terrorizing Keylor Navas, it was Sergi Roberto as an improvised right winger grabbing an assist Claudio Bravo as a ruthless wall at the back, and Andres Iniesta giving out masterclass #2525326 punctuated by a smashing finish past Navas, and oh yeah, Lionel Messi helping to build up the 4-0. Even Munir messing up Gerard Pique's chance to make it 5-0 can be forgiven. No sense in talking about it more - just watch: