Only one match remained for Sunday, with Real Madrid losing 1-3 to a Mallorca side who have now beaten the top two in little over a week. With Florentino Pérez waiting to return as president, the mood in the Bernabeu stadium was one of wishing this season to end as soon as possible. And although Higuaín headed the locals in to the lead in the twentieth minute, Arango equalised soon afterwards. With just under an hour on the clock Cléber cut a swathe through the Madrid defence to put the visitors ahead, and when Keita made it three soon afterwards many fans started to leave. They will be back next season, but many of the players on the park tonight probably wont be. (24.05.09)
A thrilling penultimate weekend, with no less than nine games obliged to kick off at the same time on Saturday evening as many of the big issues had yet to be decided. Two Champions League spots and two places in the new Europa Cup were still up for grabs, although Sevilla made sure of one of the Champions League berths after a late 1-0 win over Deportivo. The Galicians were still in with a chance themselves of reaching the top four, and some great goalkeeping from Aranzubia kept them in the game until the last minute. However substitute Perotti headed in Adriano's cross to tie up third place.
Atlético Madrid stay fourth after a 1-4 victory at Athletic Bilbao, and they only need a point now in their last match at home to Almería to complete their homework. Raúl García fired them ahead on the hour mark, and although Etxeita headed the equaliser from Etxeberría's corner a few minutes later, Forlán restored the lead again. And the Uruguayan striker scored two more after that, the second from the penalty spot, to complete his hat-trick and move two goals clear of Eto'o in the race for the Liga "Pichichi" and the European "Golden Boot".
If Atlético do slip up on the final day, Villarreal will be waiting in the wings after beating neighbours Valencia 3-1. Llorente put Pellegrini's side two up in the first half hour, both from Javi Venta assists, but David Villa got one back after Mata set him up before half time. Cani restored the two goal lead however midway through the second half, ensuring his team at least a place in European competitions next season. Valencia stay sixth and now have to wait for the last day to see if they stay there, although a draw against Athletic Bilbao next weekend will keep them ahead of seventh placed Deportivo.
All the other matches involved sides who are fighting to avoid the three relegation spots, although two of those have now been decided after Recreativo and Numancia lost their respective games. Recreativo were beaten 0-1 at home to Racing Santander, with Zigic once again scoring the winning goal from Pereira's cross to ensure first division football for the Cantabrians next season.
And Numancia lost 1-0 at Getafe, who themselves are not yet clear of danger. Soldado got the only goal after the break, but the local fans had to suffer to the end, Contra firing a late penalty against the post after Gorka Brit was sent off for blocking a free kick with his arm. Michel's side remain a point above the drop zone, and have to visit Racing Santander next weekend.
Osasuna currently occupy the third relegation spot despite a 0-1 victory against a depleted Barcelona side in a festive Nou Camp. With the Champions League final coming up on Wednesday, Pep Guardiola once again rested almost all of his first choice players. And the visitors took advantage, Pandiani heading past Pinto from Plasil's first half corner to keep their hopes of survival alive. Another win against a demotivated Real Madrid next weekend will mean they stay up.
Sporting Gijón stay ahead of Osasuna on head-to-head goal average after a 1-2 win at Valladolid. Camacho crashed home an impressive opener on the stroke of half time. And although Jonathan Sesma levelled the scores after the restart, Bilic headed in Maldonado's free kick to send the thousands of travelling fans wild. They too will survive if they beat the already relegated Recreativo in the last match.
Valladolid are also not safe despite their 42 points, and everything may now depend on their last game away at Betis. The Andalusians are a point below them in the table after a 1-1 draw at neighbours Málaga, and if Getafe, Osasuna and Sporting all win, the loser of that match will go down. Edu appeared to have put his team on the road to survival with a strike close to half time, but Luque equalised for the locals with ten minutes to go.
Espanyol will not be involved in the last day struggle though after a 0-3 victory at Almería. Iván Alonso was once again their hero with goals midway through the first and second halves, and Coro wrapped things up with a third right at the end. Pochettino's side have now clocked up seven wins in their last nine games, and their new stadium at Cornellà will be hosting first division football next year. (23.05.09)
Min 90. Sevilla 1 - Deportivo 0 (Perotti)
Min 89. Almería 0 - Espanyol 3 (Coro)
Min 87. Athletic Bilbao 1 - Atlético Madrid 4 (Forlán - pen)
Min 81. Málaga 1 - Betis 1 (Luque)
Min 78. Valladolid 1 - Sporting 2 (Bilic)
Min 78. Athletic Bilbao 1 - Atlético Madrid 3 (Forlán)
Min 76. Recreativo 0 - Racing 1 (Zigic)
Min 72. Athletic Bilbao 1 - Atlético Madrid 2 (Forlán)
Min 71. Almería 0 - Espanyol 2 (Iván Alonso)
Min 69. Valladolid 1 - Sporting 1 (Sesma)
Min 68. Athletic Bilbao 1 - Atlético Madrid 1 (Etxeita)
Min 67. Villarreal 3 - Valencia 1 (Cani)
Min 61. Getafe 1 - Numancia 0 (Soldado)
Min 59. Athletic Bilbao 0 - Atlético Madrid 1 (Raúl García)
Min 43. Málaga 0 - Betis 1 (Edu)
Min 43. Valladolid 0 - Sporting 1 (Camacho)
Min 41. Villarreal 2 - Valencia 1 (Villa)
Min 31. Villarreal 2 - Valencia 0 (Llorente)
Min 26. Almería 0 - Espanyol 1 (Iván Alonso)
Min 26. Barcelona 0 - Osasuna 1 (Pandiani)
Min 15. Villarreal 1 - Valencia 0 (Llorente)