Lewandowski helped Barcelona clinch a 19th La Liga title, but celebrations were cut short as Spanish fans stormed the pitch.
Barcelona celebrated their first Spanish league title since Lionel Messi left the football club two years ago amid the club’s financial struggles.
The Spanish club registered a 4-2 win over Espanyol on Sunday in a match marred by Spanish fans storming the pitch at the end of the game and forcing Barcelona players to go to their dressing room.
Robert Lewandowski scored twice to lead the Catalan club to its first league title since 2019. The title was secured with four rounds remaining.
The last time Barcelona celebrated a league title without Messi in its squad was in 1998-99. He entered the first team in 2004-05 and won the title that season.
The celebrations on the field did not last long as the players had to rush to the dressing room after a large group of Spanish fans from the ultra section behind one of the goals started running towards the Barcelona players who -singing and celebrating in the center.
Security guards quickly intervened but riot police had to stand in front of the tunnel entrance to prevent fans from entering. Supporters threw chairs and other objects.
Alejandro Balde and Jules Koundé also scored for Barcelona, which now has 27 league titles, eight fewer than Real Madrid. Third-placed Atletico Madrid are 16 points behind after losing 1-0 to last-placed Elche earlier in the day.
Victory over city rivals Espanyol gave Barcelona an unbeaten 85 points from 34 games, 14 points ahead of Madrid, who won 1-0 at Getafe on Saturday.
Barcelona have been leading since the 13th round and have the best defense in the league with 13 goals conceded – 14 better than any other club. They also have 25 clean sheets.
“It’s a beautiful feeling, a feeling of a job well done,” said Barcelona coach Xavi. “It is important to give the project of the club with stability. The league title shows that things are done in the right way and we must stay on this path.
Xavi + Barcelona = 🏆 pic.twitter.com/cEOHOOtAfc
– FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) May 14, 2023
Barcelona won eight league titles in 11 seasons until 2019. They finished second to Madrid in 2020, then third – behind Madrid and champions Atletico – in 2021. They were second to Madrid last season.
Barcelona’s first title without Messi came in the Spanish Super Cup in January.
The club has not won a major trophy since President Joan Laporta moved to restructure their debt and restructure the squad with players such as Lewandowski, Jules Koundé and Raphinha. Laporta celebrated with the players in the dressing room.
Lewandowski opened the scoring on Sunday from close range in the 11th minute following a cross from Alejandro Balde. The 19-year-old left-back added to the lead nine minutes later from a Pedri pass, scoring his first league goal for the club.
Lewandowski, the league’s top scorer with 21 goals, added his second in the 40th after a low cross by Raphinha on a breakaway. Koundé scored the fourth in the 53rd with a header after Frenkie de Jong’s long pass. It was also his first league goal for the club.
The title is ours. pic.twitter.com/Ft4kUBhlMW
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) May 15, 2023
Sweet farewell to Busquets
The win will be an emotional occasion for captain Sergio Busquets, who last week announced he would be leaving Barca after 15 years at the end of the season.
This is the midfielder’s ninth LaLiga title and 32nd overall at the club, with his trophy cabinet including three Champions Leagues, seven Copa del Rey and three FIFA Club World Cups, as well as the his 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship success in Spain.
“I’m happy, I think we had an amazing campaign and got it today with a good win,” Busquets told Movistar Plus.
“We are a strong team, a good squad with a fantastic defense and that is how champions are built.
“I’m proud of what we did all season, being strong and regular, winning the games we deserved and not dropping points. It was an amazing time and I am happy to end my history here in this way.
Update Complete. pic.twitter.com/G2l1A8mVPr
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) May 14, 2023
The hope of Spanish survival was gone
The defeat dealt a huge blow to Espanyol in their fight against relegation. They remain second to last, four points from safety.
Espanyol have won just once in their last 10 league games, with one draw and eight losses. Relegated in 2020 for the first time in almost three decades, they returned to the top flight at their first attempt as second-division champions.
Javi Puado scored Espanyol’s first goal in the 73rd and Joselu added a second in stoppage time as Barcelona’s players prepared to celebrate.