Real Madrid suffered a sorry end to their home campaign after slumping to a disappointing 3-1 defeat against Real Mallorca on Sunday night. Juande Ramos side’s season has petered out alarmingly of late to fall out of the title race and this defeat, their fourth on the spin, was greeted by boos from a sparse crowd at the Bernabeu.
Gonzalo Higuain had put Madrid ahead after 20 minutes but from then on their was little to enthuse the home fans. Five minutes later Mallorca, who had little to play for themselves in mid-table, found an equaliser through Juan Arango, before second-half goals from Cleber Santana and Alhassane Keita inflicted another defeat on Madrid.
On Saturday, Diego Perotti’s last-minute winner against Deportivo La Coruna secured Sevilla third spot in the Spnaish league and a place in next season’s Champions League group stages. Manolo Jimenez’s side bossed the match but were unable to find a way past visiting goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia until the 90th minute, when substitute Perotti glanced home a Renato cross.
Diego Forlan moved Atletico Madrid a step closer to next season’s Champions League and took over at the top of the Primera Division goalscoring charts after netting a hat-trick in a 4-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao. Raul Garcia got Atletico’s opener before Xabier Etxeita equalised but Forlan’s goals mean the Rojiblancos will be back in the Champions League next season if they can avoid defeat at home to Almeria in their final game. Atletico are two points ahead of fifth-placed Villarreal but boast the better head-to-head record against the Yellow Submarine this season.
Villarreal kept their own Champions League dreams alive by overcoming local rivals Valencia 3-1, but Los Che’s own hopes of a top-four finish are now over. Joseba Llorente set Villarreal on their way with two goals in the opening 30 minutes and although Valencia halved the difference with a David Villa strike just before the break, the home side secured the spoils thanks to Ruben Cani’s effort midway through the second period.
At the other end of the table, Recreativo Huelva’s three-year stay in the top flight came to an end as Racing Santander’s1-0 win at the Nuevo Colombino condemned them to relegation. Giant Serbia striker Nikola Zigic grabbed the only goal with 13 minutes to go to seal Recre’s fate.
Last year’s Segunda Division champions Numancia also went down as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Getafe, who boosted their own survival hopes. Roberto Soldado scored a deserved winner just after the hour mark for the hosts, who also saw Cosmin Contra miss a last-gasp penalty after Gorka Brit was sent off for deliberate handball.
Getafe will go into the last weekend of the season in 15th place with a one-point cushion to the relegation zone after making it two wins from three.
Osasuna currently occupy the last relegation spot despite beating champions Barcelona 1-0 at the Nou Camp. Uruguayan striker Walter Pandiani headed the only goal of the game from a first-half corner to boost the Pamplona side’s chances of survival and subject Pep Guardiola’s side to only their second home defeat in the league this season.
Youngster Marc Muniesa was controversially sent off late on as the home side – containing a number of fringe players – finished the game with 10 men, and Guardiola was also dismissed for his protests.
Osasuna are level on points with Sporting Gijon who snatched a narrow 2-1 victory at Valladolid. Croatian forward Mate Bilic was Sporting’s hero with a headed winner 11 minutes from time, restoring the lead Diego Camacho gave them just before half-time.
Valladolid, who levelled through Jonathan Sesma after 70 minutes, are now only two points above Sporting going into the final round of games next weekend, with Sporting above Osasuna in the third and final relegation berth only by virtue of a better head-to-head record.
Real Betis are only a point ahead after Albert Luque’s late strike earned Malaga a 1-1 draw. Edu fired Betis into a deserved lead two minutes from the break and they looked on course for a valuable victory before Luque pounced 10 minutes from time.
Elsewhere, Espanyol secured safety with a comfortable 3-0 win away to Almeria and climbed into the safety of mid-table into the bargain. Two goals from Ivan Alonso and a third by substitute Ferran Corominas in the closing minutes were enough to move the Barcelona club away from the relegation zone.