La Liga Round 38 results: Sociedad claim Champions League spot
Philippe Montanier's men finish fourth thanks to a 1-0 win over Deportivo, who join Zaragoza and Mallorca in the Segunda Division next year
By Martin Macdonald
Real Sociedad successfully claimed Champions League football for next season with a narrow 1-0 victory over Deportivo at the Riazor, a result which condemned Fernando Vazquez's side to relegation.
Depor sat outside the bottom three before the final round of fixtures and Philippe Montanier's men needed a slip up from Valencia to make the top four, but certain results saw both sides leave the match with widely differing outlooks for next season.
Juan Dominguez and Carlos Vela had decent openings early doors as they looked for an early breakthrough for their teams, but it would be Sociedad who woud strike the vital blow 22 minutes in.
Imanol Agirretxe twisted and turned inside the box before smashing a strike at goal that was saved by Daniel Aranzubia, but Antoine Griezmann was on hand to tuck away the rebound.
Deportivo will be kicking themselves that they did not equalise. Diogo Salomao missed an open goal and Riki crashed a header off the crossbar, but it would be Sociedad who left the day euphoric, with the promise of Europe's premier competition on the horizon for next year.
RAYO 2-2 ATHLETIC
Rayo Vallecano may have missed out on a Europa League spot in the Spanish Primera Division as they were held to a 2-2 draw by 10-man Athletic Bilbao on Saturday evening.
Marcelo Bielsa's men got off to a horrible start, though. Aritz Aduriz was sent off after his second yellow card after just 10 minutes for a foul on Alejandro Galvez.
Rayo took advantange, and took the lead nine minutes later through a Franco Vazquez header.
However, the Basque turned the game on its head with goals either side of half-time. Markel Susaeta and Jon Aurtenetxe both got on the end of similar crosses to divert home to make it 2-1.
The lead was short-lived though, as Piti equalised for Rayo 10 minutes into the second period.
The Madrid-based side now must wait and see if Malaga's European football ban is upheld, and also if their own is lifted, for their financial insecurities. This gives Rayo an outside chance of making the Europa League next season.
ZARAGOZA 1-3 ATLETICO MADRID
Zaragoza finished the season rock bottom of the league after going down 3-1 to Atletico Madrid at La Romareda.
The hosts started well, but Atletico threatened first when Diego Costa struck the bar with a header.
The game went by without much incident until the last few minutes.
Arda Turan opened the scoring from the edge of the box with a well-placed shot into the top corner but Helder Postiga restored hope for Zaragoza with a close range finish.
However, Zaragoza were dumped into the Segunda Division in the closing minutes thanks to a double from Diego Costa.
CELTA 1-0 ESPANYOL
Celta Vigo survived in La Liga by the skin of their teeth on Saturday as they defeated Espanyol 1-0 at Balaidos.
Simao nearly gave the Barcelona-based side the lead after just four minutes when he whipped a superb free kick at goal, but Celta goalkeeper Ruben got across goal to make a good save.
The solitary goal of the match came 15 minutes in when Iago Aspas burst down the left and crossed into the box. Natxo Insa collected the ball and struck a shot into the top right corner.
Joan Verdu and Christian Stuani both had decent chances to equalise before the break, but neither could capitalise.
The home side weathered a mini-storm in the second half to secure their Liga status for next season, sending the Balaidos faithful into raptures.
GRANADA 2-0 GETAFE
Getafe's slim hopes of European football next season died as they went down 2-0 to Granada at Los Carmenes.
Granada goalkeeper Roberto may have thought he was in for a tough day as Alvaro Vazquez, Pablo Sarabia and Diego Castro peppered his goal with shots early on, but none of the strikes were able to hit the target.
Nolito opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark with a close-range strike to make it 1-0.
Luis Garcia Plaza's men didn't really look like turning the game around, and the home side took advantage to make it 2-0 after the hour mark. Allan Nyom slipped a pass through to Youssef El Arabi and the Morrocan coolly finished past Miguel Moya.
LEVANTE 1-1 BETIS
Levante's hopes of securing European football failed to materialise as they played out an uneventful 1-1 draw with Real Betis on Saturday.
The first half was a relative non-event, with neither side looking particularly threatening.
It would be Levante who would strike first six minutes into the second half. Nikos Karabelas went on a marauding run down the left-hand side and whipped a wicked cross into the box, where Pedro Rios was on hand to glance a perfect header into the corner.
Real Betis had already made it into the Europa League qualifiers prior to the match, but clearly wanted to end the season on a high as they pressed for an equaliser with intensity.
They made it 1-1 in spectacular fashion 67 minutes in when Jorge Molina sent a thunderbolt of a strike into the top corner, which summed up an impressive season for Pepe Mel's outfit.
SEVILLA 4-3 VALENCIA
A fantastic four-goal haul from Alvaro Negredo left Valencia having to settle for a Europa League place as Sevilla defeated los Che 4-3 at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
It would be Ernesto Valverde's men who would strike first, though. Dani Parejo cut the ball back for Ever Banega, who rifled rifled a cracker of a strike into the top bag.
The match went into the break all-square though as Negredo equalised with a superb overhead kick from close range.
Sevilla's top goalscorer grabbed his second of the match when he tucked away a penalty kick, but Roberto Soldado equalised from close range to make it 2-2.
Negredo was a man on a mission though, and claimed his third and fourth thanks to two great finishes inside the box after crosses from Alberto and Ivan Rakitic.
Soldado headed in his second with two minutes remaining, but Sevilla held on to force Valencia out of the top four.
MALLORCA 4-2 VALLADOLID
It was a bitter-sweet end to the season for Mallorca as the Islanders came out 4-2 winners over Valladolid, but it was not enough to see them avoid the drop in the Spanish Primera Division.
The hosts needed Celta Vigo to be defeated by Espanyol in order to survive in La Liga, but with their relegation rivals sealing victory, the outcome of this match was ultimately meaningless.
Before the game they still believed though, and they got off to a great start thanks to a close range strike from Alejandro Alfaro.
Alberto Bueno equalised for Valladolid, but Mallorca re-took the lead before the break thanks to Jose Luis Marti.
Gregorio Manzano's men then extended their advantage to 4-1 after brilliant long-range strikes from Giovani dos Santos and Javi Marquez.
Omar Ramos clawed a goal back for Valladolid late on but it was Mallorca who ran out winners, though it was too little too late to save their season as they drop into the Segunda Division.
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- Goal.com Rating
- Goal.com Man of the Match
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- Top & Flop Global Ranking
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