First division - day 36
Atlético Madrid consolidated fourth place with a 0-2 win on Thursday against an Espanyol side who have not won now in eight games. Both goals came in a three minute period around the half hour mark, Agüero opening the scoring following a corner and Diego Forlán getting the second after Lafuente could only push out Antonio López's cross. Atlético are now three points ahead of Sevilla in the battle for the last Champions League spot. (08.05.08)
Real Madrid celebrated the title with a resounding 4-1 win over arch-rivals Barcelona on Wednesday night. Frank Rijkaard's side were obliged by tradition to applaud their opponents on to the pitch, and once the game started they were wiped off the field. Raúl and Robben put the locals two up in the first twenty minutes, and Higuaín got a third early in the second half. Van Nistelrooy also got in on the act, coming on to make his first appearance after a long injury lay-off and converting a penalty almost immediately, and Henry got a late consolation for the visitors.
Barça's defeat coupled with a 0-2 victory for Villarreal at Recreativo earlier in the evening means that they cannot now catch Pellegrini's side in the table, an important fact as they will therefore have to play a tricky Champions League qualifier next August. Second half strikes from Nihat and Guille Franco were enough to tie up the three points and leave the Andalusians just above the drop zone.
Sevilla are closing in on fourth place Atlético, and they are now level on points pending Atleti's game tomorrow after beating the other contenders Racing Santander 0-3. Young central defender Fazio got his first two goals for the club either side of half time, and Renato wrapped things up late on with a shot which deflected in off Moratón.
The top six should tie up the European spots, although Mallorca are now only three points behind Racing after a late 2-1 victory over Osasuna. La Liga's top scorer Güiza added to his tally on the half hour mark, but Portillo appeared to have saved a vital point after the break. The striker was sent off soon afterwards though, and Trejo got the winner for the Balearic Islanders with the game coming to an end.
Osasuna stay in the bottom three thanks to their unfavourable head-to-head record against Recre, but Zaragoza are still only a point above the two of them after a 1-0 defeat at Valencia. David Silva got the only goal of the game in the twentieth minute but then got himself sent off, and theri were some nervous moments for the home fans before the final whistle.
With two games to go though any one of six sides could go down, including Valladolid who picked up a valuable point in a 1-1 draw at Betis. A Mark González penalty gave the exiled Andalusians the lead in the Cartuja stadium, but Víctor came on to equalise a few minutes later.
Getafe would appear to be safe though after coming back from two goals down to beat Almería 4-2. Crusat and Paunovic put the visitors two up with just over ten minutes on the clock, but Albín got one back before the break, and two from Manu del Moral and a Granero penalty after the interval brought some respite for their worried fans.
Levante and Murcia are already down, but Levante put up a good fight before falling 1-0 to Deportivo. Despite putting out a weakened side the Valencia based team held their own until three minutes from the end, when Riki finally beat Reina to ensure three points which keeps the Galicians on track for a place in the Intertoto Cup.
With Mallorca and Almería not registered for the summer competition, Depor's closest rivals for that place (Espanyol permitting) is Athletic Bilbao. Caparrós's side stay three points behind the Galicians after recovering from a goal down to beat Murcia 1-2. Iván Alonso put the locals ahead with just over a quarter of an hour gone, but a goal in each half from Llorente and Gabilondo turned the scoreline around. (07.05.08)