First division, day 37
A thrilling penultimate weekend in the Spanish league, with Real Madrid thrashing their neighbours Atlético Madrid 0-4 to overtake rivals Real Sociedad at the top of the table. Del Bosque's side left nothing to chance and were already three goals up with only half an hour on the clock, Ronaldo starting things off in the sixth minute after Zidane put him through. Raúl made it two from Figo's cross a few minutes later, and Ronaldo scored his second after Roberto Carlos set him up from the left wing ten minutes afterwards. The home side had no reply, and Raúl scored an easy fourth from Zidane's free kick in the second half to put his side in line for the title.
Real Madrid move two points clear of Real Sociedad, who were beaten 3-2 by a Celta side who tied a first ever place in the Champions League with this result. Mostovoi was the hero of the night for the Gallicians, scoring an early goal and then heading a second soon after the break to put his side two up. Nihat gave the 8,500 travelling fans some hope after he turned in De Pedro's cross minutes later. But Mido restored the two goal cushion, and although Nihat headed another near the end, they could do no more. Even so Real still have a chance of the title, although they need to win against Atlético next week and hope Real Madrid are held to a draw by Athletic Bilbao to do so.
Athletic Bilbao will be going all out though next Sunday to get a result to ensure themselves a place in the UEFA cup for next season. They ended Deportivo La Coruña's hopes of the title with a 3-2 victory in the San Mamés stadium which keeps them two points ahead of rivals Barcelona for sixth spot. It was not as easy as it looked though, and after taking a two goal lead with a long shot from Del Horno and a brilliant strike from Yeste before the break, the visitors came back to level the scores in the second half. Capdevila and Sergio did the damage in a two minute period just after the hour mark, but Urzaiz struck the winner a couple of minutes later to give his side the three points.
Celta's only rival for the last Champions League spot were Valencia, but they lost all possibilities after losing 1-3 to Barcelona. Referee Puentes Leira played a big part in the result though, awarding three penalties and sending off two Valencia players during the match. Mendieta won the first penalty and scored it himself just before half time, Carew getting himself sent off for protesting. And then with an hour gone Barça were given a second penalty after Carboni was red-carded for tripping Luis Enrique, and Kluivert made it two from the spot. Overmars took Luis Enrique's pass to score a third soon afterwards, and Juan Sánchez got a late consolation, again from the penalty spot after Gabri brought down Albelda. The game was overshadowed though by the presidential elections this weekend in both clubs, and after Valencia's shareholders voted back Jaime Ortí on Saturday, Barcelona's members elected Joan Laporta by a surprisingly large margin on Sunday. It was an amazingly high scoring weekend, with a record 43 goals in the ten games.
Málaga beat local rivals Sevilla 3-2 to end their hopes of European football next season. It was an end to end game, with Darío Silva putting the home side in front and then the visitors turning the score around, Reyes scoring from the penalty spot after keeper Contreras was sent off for a foul on Gallardo and Javi Navarro heading his side in front on the hour mark. But canabal levelled the scores again, and a late penalty from Darío Silva gave the home side the win.
Betis moved above their neighbours Sevilla after beating Racing Santander 4-2. The Andalucians went three goals up with a Fernando penalty and a Joaquín header in the first half and a Dani strike after the restart, but Munitis pulled one back with a quarter of an hour to go. Marcos Assunçao scored a fourth, but Pablo Casar headed another for the visitors near the end.
Recreativo and Mallorca played out a rehearsal of this month's cup final, with the honours shared in a 1-1 draw. Eto'o gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot, but half time substitute Joaozinho made it all square with an overhead kick only a minute after coming on.
Villarreal rested five key players to have them ready for the Intertoto cup, but still managed a 2-2 draw at Espanyol. The Catalans took the lead twice, first of all through Maxi and then Velamazán, but De Nigris and under 17 international Xisco Nadal pegged them back.
Earlier in the evening Osasuna beat their Basque neighbours Alavés 4-2 in a lively match. With nothing to play for both managers made several changes, and the fans were treated to a goal spectacle in which Aloisi and Moha both scored twice for the home side, and Rubén Navarro got two for the visitors in between. (15.06.03)
The first division resumed after a two week lay off for international games, but with most kick off times synchronized for nine o'clock on Sunday night, only one game with nothing at stake was scheduled for Saturday evening. That was the match between Valladolid and already relegated Rayo Vallecano, where the home side ran out 2-0 winners. After a first half in which both sides had their chances, Aganzo beat the offside trap to give the hosts the lead. Bolo missed an opportunity to level the scores, but ten minutes from the end Antonio López put the result beyond doubt from the penalty spot after Mauro tripped Oscar González in the area. (14.06.03)