La Review: Madrid win "battle Real" with Sociedad as Málaga say some fond farewells

RESULTS Getafe 1-2 Rayo Vallecano, Valencia 1-0 Granada, Osasuna 2-1 Sevilla, Real Sociedad 3-3 Real Madrid, Málaga 3-1 Deportivo La Coruña, Espanyol 0-2 Barcelona, Real Valladolid 0-2 Celta de Vigo, Atlético Madrid 0-0 Mallorca, Real Betis 4-0 Real Zaragoza, Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Levante


Alexis Sánchez, PedroA mixed weekend for two of Barcelona’s multiplying front men. Both showed off their fancy football with a couple of tasty goals in a 2-0 victory over Espanyol, but the poaching pair will have been unnerved by the news of the imminent arrival of Neymar – direct competition for their positions next season.

Diego LópezWhy, Diego? Why? Why couldn’t you have had a wobbler on Sunday to prevent Real Sociedad clinching that winning goal in a madly fun 3-3 draw? Why, oh majestic nemesis of Iker Casillas, did you have to produce a display that will probably leave Real Sociedad without Champions League football next season?

Ernesto ValverdeNot pretty, but effective. Valencia’s 1-0 win over Granada means that if the Mestalla men better or match Real Sociedad’s result on Saturday, then the club will be through to the Champions League qualifiers. The next job in hand is to make sure manager Valverde is around to take charge of those games.

IscoMálaga’s 3-1 victory over Deportivo was a strange one. There were celebrations as the win guaranteed Europa League football next season, but it is still unknown whether the club’s appeal against a UEFA ban in next year’s competition will be successful. Although Manuel Pellegrini had made it clear that he will be leaving, there’s no word on whether the home supporters were waving farewell to half the squad, too. One of those players in question was Isco, who scored a peach of a goal to seal the 3-1 win.

BetisDespite a 4-0 victory over Zaragoza, the seventh-placed Seville side still need one point to properly guarantee Europa League football next season, which is why Pepe Mel was all with the grump after the match. “I don’t know why the players were celebrating,” stropped the Betis boss.

Paco Jémez52 points! Eighth! Europe! The third of those is a dream at the moment, what with Rayo having a few UEFA license issues, but the first two are a reality after a 2-1 win at Getafe that was a little fortuitous thanks to a Diego Castro own goal.

LevanteThe Valencia club reverted to their bad-boy ways for a few minutes to ruin Athletic’s San Mamés farewell with a late winner in Bilbao. “The win has left a little bit of a mark in the history of Athletic,” noted visiting manager Juan Ignacio Martínez with some pride.

GranadaThe Andalusian side may have lost in Mestalla, but other results sees the club mathematically safe and set for another Primera season. “The last month has been the worst of my life, but we’ve stayed up,” sighed manager Lucas Alcaraz.

OsasunaLLL knew it. When Osasuna really have to pull out a result, the club always delivers. The home match to Sevilla was a must-win in the relegation stakes, with the club’s final match of the campaign being a trip to the Santiago Bernabéu. Matters were not looking fantastic for a while with Alvaro Negredo putting Sevilla into the lead but then a couple of long-distance screamers from open play and a free kick – not the kind of action Osasuna fans are accustomed to – made Osasuna safe for another season in la Primera. “Now is the time to celebrate,” announced manager José Luis Mendilibar, cracking open a can of Diet Sprite.

Rubén BlancoA nasty-looking arm injury for Celta keeper Javi Varas saw 17-year-old substitute Blanco playing 45 minutes in a huge 2-0 win over Valladolid. “The kid was sensational,” purred Celta boss Abel Resino, a former fine goalkeeper himself.

MallorcaThe Balearic battlers could only pick up a point in a goalless draw at the Vicente Calderón against an Atlético Madrid team freshly returned from five days in Singapore. Somehow though, it was enough to give Mallorca a chance of survival in what is set to be a fun battle next weekend. Gregorio Manzano predicts that his bottom-of-the-table club are going to need a fluke to stay up, but that’s better than no hope at all.


Cristiano RonaldoSounds like the Real Madrid man had a fun time of it on Sunday. Called into the squad despite having an iffy back, Ronaldo was then made to sit in the San Sebastian stands during the match. He then proceeded to miss all the last-minute fun by leaving early to head to Portugal for some sponsorship duties. According to one report LLL saw, Ronaldo also missed out on post-match pizza for the squad as well.

FalcaoOnly projecting here, but after the Mallorca match the Colombian striker looked quite sad about saying goodbye to the Vicente Calderón – should the forward do so, of course. He'll feel even worse should the putty in an agent’s hands end up at Monaco.

Xabi PrietoThe Real Sociedad man scored five goals against Madrid this season with just the single point to show for it, the one picked up in Anoeta on Sunday. A hat-trick in the Santiago Bernabéu and two more in the return match are scant reward – a bit like the Europa League, La Real’s probable destiny next season.

SevillaStill predictably useless on the road. This season's 19 away matches produced just one victory and 10 points.

Diego CastroThe Getafe man's poke back to his goalkeeper, intended to cut out a dangerous last-minute Rayo counter-attack, instead gave the Vallecas side a 2-1 win in the derby at the Coliseum. “We wanted to win and this defeat was unfair,” complained Getafe boss Luis García, whose team can still qualify for Europe should Sunday’s rivals fail to gain their license to play with UEFA’s ball.

EspanyolNot a particularly fun weekend for Espanyol. A leading city statue wearing the new Barça shirt. The footballers doing a guard of honour to welcome the league title-winning rivals onto the pitch. Any tiny, flickering light of hope for a European spot extinguished after a 2-0 defeat, the sixth year in a row that the Pericos have failed to win this fixture.

Athletic BilbaoThat just sums up Athletic’s entirely forgettable season. The final league match in San Mamés and a comfortably middling rival to face and beat, to see the old stadium out in style. So of course, the Basques lose to Levante 1-0 with a goal in the final seconds of the game.

DeportivoWhile it's true that fourth-from-bottom Deportivo have their destiny in their own hands despite the defeat at Málaga, the club are going to have to pull out a win against Real Sociedad on Saturday, which isn't going to be an easy task. ZaragozaLLL suspected the home defeat to Athletic Bilbao last week may have knocked the stuffing out of Zaragoza, and that seems to be the case with the Aragonese team conceding in the opening seconds against Betis. “We gave the game away and we failed,” was the lament from coach Manolo Jiménez, whose side now sit third-from-bottom of the table.