Good Day, Bad Day: Lotina’s terrible treble and Levante’s last day delight

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Good Day

Real Madrid
LLL had suspected Real Madrid may have been too giddy and ticklish to overcome a Mallorca side fighting for a Europa League spot, but the chance to pick up 100 points - and a rod for their own back in seasons to come - gave Real Madrid the incentive required to waltz to a comfortable win and kick off celebrations that seemed to go on longer than the match itself. The highlight was perhaps José Callejón getting revenge on José Mourinho for a goal celebration in Mestalla by leaping on his manager’s back in a reversal of roles and riding the Portuguese across the pitch.

Víctor Valdés
There are still strange tribes out there in the football wilderness who feel the Barcelona goalkeeper isn’t all that, even when they get the chance to compare the angry one with José Pinto. Total nonsense, of course. Despite conceding two goals on Saturday against Betis, Valdés won the ‘Zamora’ best goalkeeper award for the fourth season running, and the fifth time in his career, by conceding just 28 goals in 35 games. 

It was a case of 'job done' for Málaga after Sunday’s 1-0 win over Sporting, a scoreline that was considerably tighter than necessary considering the number of chances. Málaga, who now make it through to the final qualifying round for next season's Champions League. But they lost 14 games! 14! That’s one less than Villarreal! LLL isn’t going to let this one lie.


Quite a fine week finished with a flourish and another goal to give Atlético every chance of sneaking into fourth, had Sporting nabbed a late equaliser against Málaga on the south coast of Spain.

They did it! There was just the single European place left and Levante grabbed it with a 3-0 win over what must have been a disheartened Athletic Bilbao after their Europa League final humbling on Wednesday. Having been in the top six for so long and even leading la Liga for a wee bit, the fear was that Levante would fall flat on the last day, but despite the absence of  leading scorer, Koné, they stumbled over the line.

Rubén Castro
The difference between an okily-dokilly average team staying up and going down is usually a goalscorer who can reach double figures. Betis forward Rubén Castro managed that with 16 goals, the last two coming against Barcelona to put him just one behind Fernando Llorente as the best Spanish goalscorer in la Primera this season.

Raúl Tamudo
Blimey. That was close one. Rayo were just seconds from going down with Zaragoza winning, but then Raúl Tamudo popped up (in an offside position by the looks of it) in the 92nd minute to keep the Vallecas club in the top flight and kick off the mother of celebrations in the down-on-its luck neighbourhood.

Manolo Jiménez
With all the talk of ‘incentives’ being hurled in the direction of a fairly litigious Zaragoza, a match away at Getafe where the home side had three men sent off (Zaragoza had one for their part) and a penalty, as well opposition who barely gave a flying fig would look a bit iffy. But not giving a flying fig has been the general vibe Getafe have given off ever since they secured their safety a couple of weeks back, so each to their own on what they think went on in the Coliseum.
Zaragoza’s performance was hardly startling, but in front of about 14,000 traveling fans, the away side did just enough to pinch the victory that sealed a remarkable survival effort that had manager Manolo Jiménez looking quite shell shocked on Sunday night after the match and doing a local folk dance in Zaragoza’s main square a day later.

Bad Day

A whimper of a final game of a whimper of a season in which their players did only just enough to grab third place with ten points fewer than last season, saw Los Che defeated by Real Sociedad. This is a club that needs a serious kick up the bum.

It seems a bit arbitrary to throw Osasuna into the bad day section despite a 4-2 win at Racing, but it wasn’t enough to get European football, with Levante sneaking the Europa League spot by just the point.

A last day tussle against Real Madrid was a little bit to much for Mallorca, whose valiant battle for a European spot come to nowt, thanks to a 4-1 defeat in the Santiago Bernabeu and Levante’s victory against Athletic Bilbao.

Pablo Sarabia
Even with Castilla, the Real Madrid midfielder on loan at Getafe was a gobby so and so, with constant red cards for back chat to the referee. Sarabia was at it again by applauding a yellow card awarded to him just seconds before.

Miguel Angel Lotina
There’ll be plenty of time to pick apart exactly where it all went wrong for Villarreal, but one of the worst moves the club could have made was to appoint ultra defensive Lord of Doom, Miguel Angel Lotina, as manager. Once again, Villarreal went out with their back four, backed up with midfield trivot, and once again it failed to work, with the game-plan of simply hoping the opposition don’t score coming a cropper. Lotina has now relegated three clubs from la Primera, having also come close to doing it with Espanyol in 2006.

The Asturian’s side chances of survival were just 4%, but even had Sporting managed to beat Málaga - which they were never anywhere near doing - it would have done them no good due to victories for Zaragoza and Rayo.