Real Sociedad will be in the Champions League for the first time in a decade as their 1-0 win over Deportivo la Coruna combined with Valencia’s 4-3 defeat away to Sevilla meant they claimed fourth place on a dramatic final evening of the La Liga season.
Defeat for Depor also ensured that the Galicians were relegated as Celta Vigo leapfrogged their rivals with a 1-0 win over Espanyol. Celta’s win meant that Mallorca’s 4-2 victory over Valladolid was in vain as they too were relegated along with Real Zaragoza, who were beaten 3-1 at home by Atletico Madrid.
Valencia had gone into the final round of fixtures with a two-point lead over Sociedad and after a run of four consecutive victories they made the perfect start once more when Ever Banega put them in front after just 12 minutes at the Sanchez Pizjuan.
However, things started to turn against Los Che towards the end of the first-half as Alvaro Negredo scored twice in quick succession for the hosts and Jonas was also sent-off to leave Valencia down to ten men.
Roberto Soldado briefly gave the visitors hope when he equalised 11 minutes into the second-half, but Negredo sent a clear message to Spain boss Vicente del Bosque, who had left him out of his squad for the FIFA Confederations Cup earlier in the week by scoring twice more to take his tally for the season to 31. Soldado pulled another goal back at the death for Valencia, but it wasn’t enough as they join Real Betis in qualifying for the UEFA Europa League.
Sevilla themselves could be Spain’s third Europa League representatives despite finishing ninth as Malaga are currently banned for competing in European competition next season pending an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Rayo Vallecano have also not been granted a UEFA licence by the Spanish Football Federation.
Elsewhere, José Mourinho signed off as Real Madrid coach in swashbuckling style. Osasuna fought back from two goals down in the capital before Karim Benzema and José Callejón hit back to ensure Madrid’s undefeated home streak lasted the season. It was not such a memorable send-off for Málaga boss Manuel Pellegrini, though, as his side were thumped 4-1 at Barcelona. Barca’s win meant that they ended the season with 100 points, equaling the record that Real Madrid set last season.