La Liga Roundup: Four Battling to Avoid The Drop in Spain
With matters at the top of La Liga done and dusted, attention turns to the foot of the table. Any three from four teams could be going down to La Segunda, with just one round of games left to play.
Mallorca remain in last place after holding Atletico Madrid to a goalless draw at the Vicente Calderon, but the islanders are only a point adrift of Celta Vigo and Zaragoza after Sunday’s penultimate round. Celta kept their survival hopes alive with a 2-0 win at Real Valladolid, the crucial goals coming from Gustavo Cabral and an Iago Aspas penalty.
Zaragoza crashed 4-0 at Real Betis, for whom Dorlan Pabon with two and Ruben Castro and Jorge Molina with one apiece all scored to ensure Betis remain in contention for a Europa League place.
The fourth club in danger of the drop is Deportivo La Coruna, who were beaten 3-1 at Malaga. Javier Saviola, Julio Baptista and Isco were all on target for Malaga in what is likely to have been Manuel Pellegrini’s final game in charge at La Rosaleda. Diogo Salomao scored Depor’s consolation, but the defeat leaves them four points adrift of both Granada and Osasuna, who are both safe.
Osasuna were assured of another season of Primera football in Pamplona with a 2-1 win over Sevilla. Alfredo Negredo gave the Andalusians the lead, but Francisco Punal and Alvaro Cejudo turned the game round to give Osasuna a vital win.
Valencia climbed back up to fourth place after defeating Granada 1-0, courtesy of Roberto Soldado’s second-half goal. Los Che moved ahead of Real Sociedad, who drew with Real Madrid at Anoeta. Gonzalo Higuain and Jose Callejon put jose Mourinho’s men 2-0 up, only for Xabier Prieto and Antoine Griezmann to level for the Basques. Sami Khedira restored Los Blancos’ lead, but Prieto got his second in added time to earn Sociedad a 3-3 draw.
Elsewhere, champions Barcelona won 2-0 at local rivals Espanyol with goals from Alexis Sanchez and Pedro Rodriguez; Juanlu scored the only goal of the last ever game at San Mames as Levante overcame Athletic Bilbao; and Rayo Vallecano won 2-1 at Getafe to retain a slim chance of a Europa League place. Chori Dominguez cancelled out Rafi’s opener for Getafe before a late Diego Castro own goal gave Rayo the win.