El Centrocampista

Agony and Ecstasy after Last-Gasp Drama: La Liga Round-Up and Highlights

There was joy and heartbreak in abundance on a dramatic final night in La Liga on Sunday, as Villarreal suffered last gasp relegation to the segunda while Malaga finally secured their place in next seasons Uefa Champions League.

It was nervy night at many grounds around Spain; not least at el Madrigal where Villarreal knew victory would guarantee survival no matter what happened elsewhere. Atletico’s Champions League hopes were largely out of their hands; Diego Simeone’s men had to win the game and hope Sporting could pull off an unlikely victory against Malaga at la Romareda. It was the hosts who began the game brighter however, as the visitors looked jaded from their mid-week exertions to lift the Uefa Europa League crown against Athletic Club in Bucharest.

Ruben Castro and Marcos Senna both went close as Miguel Angel Lotina’s side dominated possession, with Atleti having to wait until just before the half hour mark for their first half-chance of the game. Despite controlling most of the first half, the hosts lacked any real prowess in front of goal and there were warning signs for Lotina mid-way through the second period when Diego Lopez had to react well to a smart free-kick from Atleti’s Brazilian playmaker, Diego.

With time running out the deadlock was finally broken when Falcao rose well in the area to power a Diego corner past a floundering Diego Lopez in the Villarreal goal; changing the whole complexion of the relegation fight and Villarreal’s top flight status.

Elsewhere, Apoño’s 47th minute penalty and a late strike from Helder Postiga had given Zaragoza victory at Getafe to drag them out of the bottom three and complete a remarkable salvation from Manolo Jimenez’s men; eight victories from their last 11 games having brought los Maños back from what looked almost certain relegation just two months ago.

The result left Rayo Vallecano facing a quick return back to la Segunda after spending just one season back in Spain’s top division. Jose Ramon Sandoval’s side hosted Granada at Vallecas with both sides knowing they could be relegated by the end of the day, however it was Rayo who were on the brink as the game went into stoppage time still in stalemate.

Just moments after Falcao had put Atletico ahead at Villarreall however, Raul Tamudo reacted first in the six yard box to head home a remarkable winner for Rayo and send Vallecas into delirium. The contrast at el Madrigal could not have been starker as news drifted through of Tamudo’s goal. Moments later  referee Undiano Mallenco called time on the encounter and Villarreal’s 12 year stay in Spanish football’s top flight was over.

Sporting Gijon join Villarreal and the already-relegated Racing Santander in the Segunda after they lost 1-0 to Malaga, who secured the final Uefa Champions League spot thanks to Salomon Rondon’s strike three minutes into the second half. Racing meanwhile, fell to a 4-2 home loss to Osasuna who will now take their place in next season’s Uefa Europa League with Atletico Madrid and Athletic Club.

Athletic slumped to a 3-0 reverse to the season’s surpise package Levante at the Ciutat de Valencia – a result which secured Juan Ignacio Martinez’s side European football for the first time in their 103 year history. A brace from Abdelkader Ghezzal and a late strike from Javier Farinos completing a fantastic season for the Valencian side.

Elsewhere, Real Madrid romped to a 4-1 victory over Mallorca at the Santiago Bernabeu as two goals from Mesut Ozil and one apiece for Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema took the newly-crowned league champions onto a remarkable 100 points for the season.

In the day’s final game, Espanyol came from behind to draw 1-1 with Sevilla in Barcelona.



















Videos courtesy of Acosartand MarcadoresOnline


Follow us and get La Liga news right in your feed!

Already a fan?