Monday, May 14, 2012

End of La Liga

An exciting end to the season, with surprises right up to the last minute. The biggest shock of all though was the relegation of Villarreal, who lost 0-1 to Atlético Madrid thanks to a goal by Falcao with just two minutes left on the clock. The day started with Zaragoza down in the bottom three, but early in the second half of their game at Getafe Apoño converted a penalty with their hosts down to nine men, and a late strike from Postiga made it 0-2 in the end. Apoño's goal meant that Rayo Vallecano were then in the drop zone, but with their match against Granada in the last minute of ordinary time Tamudo headed past Julio César to give them a 1-0 victory. If Villarreal could have saved a point then Granada would have gone down instead, but it was not to be, and to add to their woes their B team will be automatically relegated from the second division as a result. Sporting Gijón also go down after a 1-0 defeat at Málaga, Rondón heading the only goal to ensure the Andalusians a first ever place in the Champions League.

Meanwhile Levante beat Athletic Bilbao 3-0 to take them back up to the Europa League spots, where they will be joined by Atlético Madrid after their victory against Villarreal. It was a great achievement by Juan Ignacio Martínez's side, who have the smallest budget in the first division, and this will be their first ever appearance in a European competition (Athletic of course will also return to the competition by virtue of reaching the Copa del Rey final, as their opponents Barcelona have qualified for the Champions League). That left no place though for Osasuna despite a 2-4 victory at the already relegated Racing Santander, and Mallorca also lose out on the top six after a 4-1 defeat at Real Madrid, the win taking Mourinho's side on to an all time record 100 points. Espanyol and Sevilla were out of the running for the European places after last weekend's games, and they played out a 1-1 draw in their last fixture of the season. (13.05.12)

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