Barça and Madrid make final day dull – but La Liga’s relegation scrap certainly wasn’t
At one point on Saturday, in the final flourishes of the title race, LLL wondered how many people were actually at games following the results of other matches through radios or t’internet.
That moment arose in the second half of the Deportivo vs Real Madrid and Granada vs Barcelona clashes which were both at 2-0 and going nowhere fast in terms of drama.
It was not a fun experience and far from the white-knuckle ride of last weekend, which nearly saw Barcelona win the title after Atlético were wiped out by already-relegated Levante. But you can read about Barça's big week here, to leave some space for what was a truly terrible day for capital city football at the other end of the table...
It was not a fun experience and far from the white-knuckle ride of last weekend, which nearly saw Barcelona win the title after Atlético were wiped out
Getafe fluff lines to end Coliseum kingdom in La Primera
The one team that had survival destiny in its own hands failed to deliver at the last. Getafe’s 12 years in La Primera had been supported by the club always managing to scrape off three points when they were really needed, backed by tens of thousands of insanely madcap supporters turning up at the Coliseum in wind, rain or shine.
But not this time. Getafe are down to La Segunda – possibly to be replaced by a side from the same division about two miles away – after losing 2-1 at Betis and Sporting defeated Villarreal.
It’s all too much to take in, especially for LLL’s stock of Getafe jokes which are now going to be put into stasis, potentially for the next 800 years, only to awaken and find the planet run by cats.
Sporting stay up after unsporting behaviour from Villarreal
The week was stuffed with controversy over payments, bribes and incentives, so there had to be at least one big kerfuffle on the final day. Getafe’s defeat to Betis – which looked fairly certain from the second half onwards – gave Sporting the power over their immediate future.
Playing Villarreal would have been easy enough anyway, with the Yellow Submarine having secured fourth at the end of what was a fairly tough and successful campaign both in Spain and Europe. The extra bonus was that they are managed by Marcelino who is from Sporting’s region, supports Sporting, started his career at Sporting and even managed Sporting too. Sporting.
Earlier in the week, Marcelino admitted that he hoped Sunday’s opposition stayed up, but later fumed that he did not “care if my professionalism is doubted”. All LLL will say is that Sporting won 2-0 against a team that only trained from Thursday and left Denis Suárez, Roberto Soldado, Cédric Bakambu and Bruno on the bench – arguably their four most important players this season.
Marcelino? He’ll be happy
Sporting staying in La Primera is a very good thing indeed, but there were some very sceptical comments from two Madrid clubs over the manner of the final-day drama. “Marcelino?” pondered Getafe boss Juan Esnáider, “he’ll be happy.” “From the very first minute you could see that it wasn’t a game of football,” fumed Rayo president, Raúl Martin Presa.
Rayo sent down with regrets over lost opportunities
If Sporting staying up is a very good thing for Spanish football, then Rayo being relegated after five spectacularly fun years in La Primera is very bad.
No other club has such rebellious character and driven supporters, who cheered the players back onto the pitch – after relegation had been confirmed – to display the banner: “If loving you is a sin, hell will be ours.”
Although Rayo did what had to be done with a win against Levante, the team was completely poleaxed by a 2-1 defeat at Real Sociedad, a match where even a draw would have kept the Madrid side up, as it turned out.
Sevilla flourish with just-enough philosophy
Sevilla might just end up being the jammiest club side in the history of the game. Saturday’s defeat against Athletic Bilbao saw the Andalusians end the Primera campaign without a single away win in La Liga. Not one. Even Levante managed to sneak a victory on the road.
Matters aren’t a great deal better in Europe with just the single win away from the Sánchez Pizjuán in both the Champions League and in the Europa League. Yet if Unai Emery leads Sevilla to a victory against Liverpool, then the campaign’s general lethargy will have been rewarded with a European trophy, a spot in the Champions League and a place in the European Super Cup final.
Heck, Barcelona’s league title victory means that Sevilla are guaranteed a place in next year’s Spanish Super Cup final no matter what happens in next weekend’s Copa del Rey final. It’s a minimalist work ethic soon to be taken up by a very jealous LLL.