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, MÃÂ¡laga 3-1 Deportivo La CoruÃÂ±a, Espanyol 0-2 Barcelona, Real Valladolid 0-2 Celta de Vigo, AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid 0-0 Mallorca, Real Betis 4-0 Real Zaragoza, Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Levante
Alexis SÃÂ¡nchez, Pedro
A mixed weekend for two of BarcelonaÃ¢ÂÂs 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 Ã¢ÂÂ direct competition for their positions next season.
Why, Diego? Why? Why couldnÃ¢ÂÂt 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?
Not pretty, but effective. ValenciaÃ¢ÂÂs 1-0 win over Granada means that if the Mestalla men better or match Real SociedadÃ¢ÂÂs 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.
MÃÂ¡lagaÃ¢ÂÂs 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 clubÃ¢ÂÂs appeal against a UEFA ban in next yearÃ¢ÂÂs competition will be successful. Although Manuel Pellegrini had made it clear that he will be leaving, thereÃ¢ÂÂs 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.
Despite 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. Ã¢ÂÂI donÃ¢ÂÂt know why the players were celebrating,Ã¢ÂÂ stropped the Betis boss.
52 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.
The Valencia club reverted to their bad-boy ways for a few minutes to ruin AthleticÃ¢ÂÂs San MamÃÂ©s farewell with a late winner in Bilbao. Ã¢ÂÂThe win has left a little bit of a mark in the history of Athletic,Ã¢ÂÂ noted visiting manager Juan Ignacio MartÃÂnez with some pride.
The Andalusian side may have lost in Mestalla, but other results sees the club mathematically safe and set for another Primera season. Ã¢ÂÂThe last month has been the worst of my life, but weÃ¢ÂÂve stayed up,Ã¢ÂÂ sighed manager Lucas Alcaraz.
LLL 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 clubÃ¢ÂÂs final match of the campaign being a trip to the Santiago BernabÃÂ©u. 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 Ã¢ÂÂ not the kind of action Osasuna fans are accustomed to Ã¢ÂÂ made Osasuna safe for another season in la Primera. Ã¢ÂÂNow is the time to celebrate,Ã¢ÂÂ announced manager JosÃÂ© Luis Mendilibar, cracking open a can of Diet Sprite.
A 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. Ã¢ÂÂThe kid was sensational,Ã¢ÂÂ purred Celta boss Abel Resino, a former fine goalkeeper himself.
The Balearic battlers could only pick up a point in a goalless draw at the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n against an AtlÃÂ©tico 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 thatÃ¢ÂÂs better than no hope at all.
Sounds 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.
Only projecting here, but after the Mallorca match the Colombian striker looked quite sad about saying goodbye to the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n Ã¢ÂÂ should the forward do so, of course. He'll feel even worse should the putty in an agentÃ¢ÂÂs hands end up at Monaco.
The 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 BernabÃÂ©u and two more in the return match are scant reward Ã¢ÂÂ a bit like the Europa League, La RealÃ¢ÂÂs probable destiny next season.
Still predictably useless on the road. This season's 19 away matches produced just one victory and 10 points.
The 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. Ã¢ÂÂWe wanted to win and this defeat was unfair,Ã¢ÂÂ complained Getafe boss Luis GarcÃÂa, whose team can still qualify for Europe should SundayÃ¢ÂÂs rivals fail to gain their license to play with UEFAÃ¢ÂÂs ball.
Not a particularly fun weekend for Espanyol. A leading city statue wearing the new BarÃÂ§a 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.
That just sums up AthleticÃ¢ÂÂs entirely forgettable season. The final league match in San MamÃÂ©s 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.
While it's true that fourth-from-bottom Deportivo have their destiny in their own hands despite the defeat at MÃÂ¡laga, 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.
LLL 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. Ã¢ÂÂWe gave the game away and we failed,Ã¢ÂÂ was the lament from coach Manolo JimÃÂ©nez, whose side now sit third-from-bottom of the table.