First division day 37
Deportivo de La Coruña moved closer to taking second place in the league when they beat Valencia 0-1 in the penultimate game of the season. Roy Makaay's one hundredth league goal in Spain gave them victory after a bad back pass by Ayala in the second half, and they stay two points ahead of Mallorca, who won 2-4 away at Alavés. Karmona gave the Vitoria side the lead early on but Nadal equalised a minute later. The visitors turned it on in the second half though with goals from Finidi, Biagini and Eto'o, with Azkoitia putting Alavés back in the game momentarily. Contra and Javi Moreno made their farewells to the home fans; both are on their way to AC Milan next season.
Barcelona drew 2-2 at Valladolid, a result which means that they still have a chance of qualifying for the last Champions League spot if they can beat Valencia in the last match at the Nou Camp next week. Guardiola gave the Catalans the lead from a free kick in the second minute, but two goals in quick succession in the second half by Kaviedes and Turiel, the first a spectacular overhead kick, turned the game around until Overmars made it all square with a few minutes to go. Valladolid are not quite safe yet, and they are in a battle with three other teams to stay up, including Oviedo, who drew 1-1 at home against champions Real Madrid. With a team packed with reserve players Madrid fell behind to a goal from Jaime, but Solari levelled the scores before the half hour mark. Oviedo's Oli got sent off just before the break.
Celta virtually assured the last UEFA cup spot thanks to a controversial late penalty against rivals Villarreal which Mostovoi converted. The 1-0 result takes them four points clear of their opponents, and the only team who can catch them now are Málaga, who beat Racing Santander 2-1 to stay two points behind the Vigo side. Even if they don't catch them they could still qualify if Barcelona or Celta win the Spanish cup, which could free up a place. Racing had said that they would refuse to play this game as a protest against the false passport scandal, although they gave in to pressure and decided to go ahead in the end.
Racing's defeat means they are mathematically relegated, although they still hope that results of games involving players with false passports could be overturned, which may give them a reprieve. Numancia will go down with them after losing 2-1 to Rayo Vallecano despite taking the lead through Rosu in the first half. Two second half goals by Luis Cembranos meant that Rayo are sure of first division football next season, although neither Luis nor Numancia's David Pirri saw the match through to the end, both getting sent off in the second half. Osasuna still have an outside chance of saving themselves though after beating Zaragoza 1-0. A Jusué goal in the second half takes them on to 39 points, two behind Zaragoza and Oviedo and three behind Valladolid, all of whom could occupy the last relegation spot.
Next week Osasuna visit Basque neighbours Real Sociedad, who secured their place in next season's first division with a 1-3 victory against another Basque side, their arch-rivals Athletic Bilbao. First half goals by Jankauskas and De Pedro took them ahead, and although Urzaiz pulled one back in the second half, an Idiakez penalty near the end gave manager John Toshack a double reason to celebrate. Only one fixture had nothing at stake this weekend, the game between Espanyol and Las Palmas. The Catalans won 3-2 with goals by Arteaga, Tamudo and Posse in the first half, with Schurrer and Orlando replying for the visitors. (10.06.01)