MADRID - Real Betis coach Jose Maria Nogues was left rueing the "caprices of fate" after his side were relegated on the final day of the Primera Liga season on Sunday. The coaches of Osasuna, Sporting Gijon, Getafe and Real Valladolid, by contrast, were thanking the gods after they narrowly avoided the drop to the second division. "It was a very sad day as once again football has been very unjust to us," Nogues, promoted from the reserve team after Paco Chaparro was sacked last month, told a news conference. "Nobody really thought it would happen that we wouldn't win today and I really think we deserved to," he added after the 1-1 home draw with Valladolid. "We worked, we pushed, we ran and we fought but it wasn't enough. Fate has been capricious with us." Getafe finished level on 42 points with Betis but stayed up thanks to a superior goal difference and coach Michel said the players deserved it for all their hard work. "I am more than happy, euphoric even," he said. "Our nerves were shredded in the last half hour because we were teetering on the brink." Sporting coach Manuel Preciado said the brush with relegation had been "agonising" and it had felt like the 2-1 comeback win over already-relegated Recreativo Huelva had lasted seven days. "In football, whoever wants it the most, in the end, usually gets it," he said at a news conference, before paying tribute to the Sporting fans. "In our worst moments, it was the supporters who gave us a boost," he said. Osasuna's Jose Antonio Camacho said he had not been feeling particularly tense even when his side fell a goal behind to Real Madrid in Pamplona. "I saw the team was capable of winning and we have completed a great task, if a little late in the day," he said. "But it's significant that we have spent the last two seasons fighting for survival." Jose Luis Mendilibar of Valladolid said it would not have been fair if his side had been relegated after what he called a decent season spoiled by a recent run of poor form. "I am happy for all the fans who made the trip to Seville," he told reporters.
1 June 2009
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