La Liga Roundup, Gameweek 38: Atletico Madrid Are Worthy Spanish Champions
Atletico Madrid won the Spanish Primera title on the final day of the season with a 1-1 draw at Barcelona. At the other end of the table, Osasuna and Real Valladolid were relegated and will join Real Betis in La Segunda.
Atletico Madrid won their first La Liga title since 1996 after drawing 1-1 with Barcelona in the championship decider at Camp Nou. Diego Simeone was dealt two major blows early on when top scorer Diego Costa limped off and winger Arda Turan soon joined him on the sidelines. Barcelona had the better of the first-half and Alexis Sanchez fired them ahead from a seemingly impossible angle after Lionel Messi’s knock-down. Atleti bounced back when Diego Godin rose to head Koke’s corner beyond Jose Manuel Pinto and the draw was enough to hand Atleti the title.
Real Madrid finished third and ended an anti-climactic season with a 3-1 victory over Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu. After a goalless first half, Gareth Bale put Los Blancos ahead on 64 minutes and Alvaro Morata made the points safe four minutes from time. Pizzi pulled one back for the Catalans before Morata hit his second in stoppage time. Victory was tempered by doubts over Cristiano Ronaldo’s fitness ahead of the Champions League final. The Portuguese pulled out of the game moments before kick-off and was replaced by Isco.
Sevilla toasted their Europa League triumph with an emphatic 3-1 win over Elche, rounding off the campaign in style at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Midfielder Vicente Iborra tripled his goal tally for the season by opening the scoring for Sevilla and then adding a brilliant third, with Jairo Samperio also getting on the scoresheet on a comfortable night for Unai Emery’s side. Richmond Boakye grabbed a consolation for the visitors in injury time.
Villarreal claimed a 2-1 victory over Real Sociedad at Anoeta to finish above the Basques in sixth place. Giovani dos Santos gave the visitors a deserved lead with a fine curling finish after 26 minutes and later provided Ikechukwu Uche with the pass for the second goal on 69 minutes to kill off the game. Carlos Vela pulled a goal back for the hosts in the final minute of stoppage time, but there was no time to find an equaliser.
Valencia marked the beginning of a new era at Mestalla with a 2-1 comeback win over Celta Vigo after Singapore billionaire Peter Lim completed his takeover of the club. Debt-laden Los Che welcomed the tycoon’s decision with a battling victory at the end of a disappointing season. The northerners looked set to spoil Valencia’s party when Inigo Lopez gave them a fifth-minute lead but Los Che fought back for the win with goals either side of half-time from Sofiane Feghouli and Pablo Piatti. Valencia finish eighth, level on points with ninth-placed Celta.
Malaga completed a disappointing campaign on a winning note with a 1-0 victory over Levante in Bernd Schuster’s final game in charge. The German’s single season year in charge at La Rosaleda has been punctuated by stories of conflicts with some of the players and the recent reports have linked departing Barcelona coach Tata Martino with a move to Malaga. Francisco Portillo’s 60th-minute strike secured Malaga the win and an 11th place finish.
Real Valladolid knew that their fate was not in their own hands and a 1-0 loss to Granada, who were also in danger of the drop, confirmed that they would be in the second tier next season. A Stefan Mitrovic own goal just before half-time was enough to condemn Juan Ignacio Martinez’s men to La Segunda.
Valladolid’s defeat was also bad news for Osasuna, as it meant they were relegated despite defeating Real Betis 2-1 in Pamplona a game that was suspended for more than 35 minutes after a section of fencing collapsed, injuring a number of spectators. Oriol Riera put the hosts ahead in the 12th minute and Javier Acuna doubled their advantage two minutes later. Betis defender Chica reduced the arrears in the 70th minute, but the result was academic.
Almeria were also in danger of being relegated, but a goalless home draw against below-strength Athetic Bilbao was enough to see the Andalusians safe. The outcome was a massive relief for the club, who survived on one of the smallest budgets in La Liga after promotion last season.
Getafe sealed a 13th place finish with a 2-1 win away at Rayo Vallecano, who finished one place above them. Ciprian Marica opened the scoring for Getafe two minutes before the break, but Roberto Trashorras equalised after 66 minutes. The game was heading for a draw until Rayo goalkeeper Ruben Martinez pulled down substitute Jorge Sammir in the penalty area and Marica slotted home the resulting penalty in stoppage time.