A desperate day for Depor, as Real Sociedad celebrate Champions League qualification
FourFourTwo.com's Spanish correspondent Tim Stannard rounds up the Primera action from the final day of 2012/13
RESULTS Sat 1 Jun Real Madrid 4-2 Osasuna, Barcelona 4-1 Malaga, Rayo Vallecano 2-2 Athletic Bilbao, Granada 2-0 Getafe, Levante 1-1 Real Betis, Real Zaragoza 1-3 Atletico Madrid, Mallorca 4-2 Rayo Valladolid, Celta Vigo 1-0 Espanyol, Deportivo 0-1 Real Sociedad, Sevilla 4-3 Valencia.
Abidal and Mourinho wave rather different kinds of goodbye
It's been said before, but JosÃÂ© Mourinho giving up the ghost on the title race back in December shouldn't take anything away from BarÃÂ§aÃ¢ÂÂs big Primera win. SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs 4-1 victory over MÃÂ¡laga, which was concluded by an emotional farewell to Eric Abidal, was a collection of stonking strikes. Those last three points saw BarÃÂ§a equal the 100-point record total achieved by Madrid last season. The 115 goals bagged in 38 matches is also a record tally for Barcelona.
The Real Madrid striker will initially be sad to be leaving the Santiago Bernabeu after six-and-a-half years, as the forward announced after SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs win over Osasuna. But then an enormous sense of relief will fill the ArgentineanÃ¢ÂÂs mind, with the 25-year-old heading to an as yet unknown club where he won't be pestered quite nastily by sections of the media for being a big-match bottler. Ã¢ÂÂI want a change of scene,Ã¢ÂÂ admitted HiguaÃÂn, who signed off his spell at Real Madrid with the opening goal in the 4-2 victory.
La Liga Loca is not sure Diego Costa is the right player to fill FalcaoÃ¢ÂÂs boots, but the short-tempered striker is nonetheless a classy forward to have around. SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs brace helped relegate Zaragoza and saw the Brazilian move to ten league goals for the season - just 18 fewer than Falcao. 'Effective, if not particularly prolific', would probably be the best phrase to sum up Costa. The polar opposite of this blog, in fact.
All due respect to Valencia and all that, but LLL is not going to hide its happiness that Real Sociedad finished in fourth at the end of the campaign, having held their nerve 'til the very end to leap back over their east coast rivals thanks to a dogged away win against Deportivo.
With all the hoopla surrounding the top four chase and the relegation battle, the fact Betis confirmed their Europa League spot with a 1-1 draw at Levante has been largely overlooked. Another good news story from La Liga.
The courts will decide whether Rayo will play in Europe next season, with cases pending over MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs current UEFA ban, and the Vallecas club appealing their own inability to get a license due to debts to third parties. Even if decisions don't go in their favour, what a glorious campaign for coach Paco JÃÂ©mez, who lead his team into an incredible eighth place and his recently been rewarded with a new two-year contract.
That must have been fun. The 4-3 victory over Valencia not only prevented the club that dispensed with Unai's services last summer from going into the Champions League (something Emery managed for three years straight), but also potentially put Sevilla in the Europa League.
SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs clash with Valencia was a duel between the top two Spanish strikers in La Liga; Alvaro Negredo and Roberto Soldado. The Sevilla forward went into the clash trailing the Valencia man by one goal, but blasted past Soldado with four on the night to move onto 25 for the season. It is a total that would have won MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs Pichichi top goalscorer award in 2006/2007, dontchaÃ¢ÂÂ know.
The word Ã¢ÂÂsufferÃ¢ÂÂ is used an awful lot in Spanish football, but by Merciful Zeus that is what Celta had to do for the three points against Espanyol. Real Sociedad did their job by beating Deportivo, but Celta faced a perky Perico outfit, who caused the Galicians no end of scares. The club owe a huge amount to 17-year-old goalkeeper, RubÃÂ©n, who performed admirably under a mountain of pressure to keep Celta up for another season.
There weren't exactly tears and hugs of sadness for the soon-to-be Chelsea boss in his final match in charge of Real Madrid. The most defining image of a season when the manager seemed to fall out with most of his players was in the tunnel, with Cristiano Ronaldo waiting to receive an award and Mourinho waiting to walk out to the bench, standing a good ten metres apart. At the end of the Osasuna encounter, the only supporters Mourinho waved goodbye to were the clubÃ¢ÂÂs Ultras who sang their heroÃ¢ÂÂs name for much of the match, while everyone else whistled and booed.
A very, very, very, very, very bad day indeed for the Mestalla club, in a calamity the repercussions of which LLL will be covering for some time. ValenciaÃ¢ÂÂs 4-3 defeat to Sevilla, combined with Real SociedadÃ¢ÂÂs victory, left the east coast club in fifth and without the loot of the Champions League for the upcoming campaign. WhatÃ¢ÂÂs more, Valencia also lost their manager, Ernesto Valverde, who had told the footballers before the match that he would not be accepting any offer of a new deal for the season to come. Ã¢ÂÂWhen he came he brought a club that was dead back to life,Ã¢ÂÂ was the lament from Roberto Soldado, on the impact of Valverde at Valencia.
For 15 minutes, Getafe were in ninth, which may have been enough for European football next season. The Madrid club didnÃ¢ÂÂt have to do anything themselves, instead it was Sevilla slipping up against Valencia which bumped the Coliseum club up the table. But then Granada knocked a couple past Getafe, Sevilla bounced back, and Getafe went back to reality.
The 2-2 draw at Rayo was a bit of a Ã¢ÂÂmare for Gorka, with the Athletic keeper continuing a wobbly campaign by gifting the home side their two efforts in SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs clash.
Destitute Depor had the luxury of having their destiny in their own hands, despite Celta Vigo winning their match against Espanyol. However, the Galicians never looked like getting anything out of the game with Real Sociedad, aside from a late flurry of forward activity. Debts of around Ã¢ÂÂ¬150 million suggest that life in La Segunda is going to be very hard indeed for a club that is already in administration.
That was close. Mallorca began the round bottom of the table and with just a 5% chance of survival, but those odds went up and up when the team dispensed of Valladolid early doors in what was an eventual 4-2 victory. In the final seconds of the final round, Deportivo and Zaragoza were losing, whilst Celta were hanging on for dear life in their clash with Espanyol. A single goal for the Pericos would have been enough to keep Mallorca up. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs probably not a comforting thought for the players and supporters of the Segunda-bound club.
After three years of near misses, Zaragoza finally go down, having finished bottom of the table. The players were relegated with a whimper, too, having failed to keep up with their side of the survival bargain by losing 3-1 to visiting AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid. Ã¢ÂÂI feel a huge sadness,Ã¢ÂÂ admitted Manolo JimÃÂ©nez, Ã¢ÂÂthe supporters donÃ¢ÂÂt deserve this.Ã¢ÂÂ
The fans were not happy at all, having protested against the leadership of owner Agapito Iglesias before, during and after the game.