Spain’s premier division came to an end this weekend with the Champions League and relegation spots finally confirmed. Barcelona had already been established as champions before the final matchday but they still had a three figure points total to aim for.
Fourth place was up for grabs in the final week with Valencia and Real Sociedad battling for the lucrative right to play Champions League football next year. Valencia travelled to Sevilla, who were still aiming for a Europa League spot, and Sociedad went to La Coruna to face a Deportivo side fighting relegation.
The team in the driving seat was Valencia. They were two points ahead of their rivals and therefore knew qualification was in their hands. This seemed to spur them on as they took the lead in the twelfth minute thanks to superb solo effort by Éver Benega.
The news most have been heard by Real Sociedad who soon took the lead in their game thanks to a tenth goal of the season by Antoine Griezmann. Things then got even better for the white and blues as within the space of five minutes, the game in Seville turned on its head.
First, West Ham target Álvaro Negredo scored a quick fire brace to give Sevilla the lead and then Jonas was sent off for the visitors after an elbow was aimed at an opponent. Suddenly, the game had changed and at half time, Sociedad were the side sitting in fourth.
This turned at to be the way it ended, despite a late fight back from Valencia after Negredo had scored two more to put his side up two goals ahead. An 88th minute goal from Roberto Soldado gave the away side hope but it was not enough as they lost 4-3 and Sociedad held on 1-0 to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in ten years.
Elsewhere, going into the final matchday, there were four teams trying to stay out of the drop zone. Mallorca, Celta Vigo and Real Zaragoza were all at home in addition to Deportivo but only one could stay up.
That team was Celta Vigo. Having been in the bottom three since week 23, they managed to win 1-0 at home to Espanyol thanks to a goal from Natxo Insa. This meant Mallorca’s 4-2 win against Real Valladolid was in vain. Ex-Spurs attacking midfielder Giovani dos Santos scored his sixth of the season but it was not enough as the Islanders were condemned to relegation.
Real Zaragoza were also relegated after losing 3-1 to Atlético Madrid, in a game which had an extraordinary ending. Arda Turan gave the Madrid side a 1-0 lead in the 84th minute before Hélder Postiga equalised with a minute left on the clock. However, there was still time for two late goals from Diego Costa to give the away team a 3-1 victory.
In the other games this week, José Mounrinho’s last match in charge at Real Madrid ended with a 4-2 victory. A disappointing season for the Los Blancos, as they went the season without a major trophy. They will now look to Carlo Ancelotti to replace Mourinho.
Barcelona reached 100 points by beating Málaga 4-1 at the Nou Camp, despite Lionel Messi being sidelined through injury. David Villa scored in possibly his last game for the club if transfer rumours are to be believed. The win secured a fifteen point margin between themselves and Real Madrid.
The final three games saw Granada beat Getafe 2-0, Rayo Vallecano draw 2-2 with Athletic Bilbao and Levante draw 1-1 with Real Betis. These results meant it would be Betis and Sevilla who would join Valencia in next year’s Europa League.
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