|First Division - Day 38|
Deportivo 0 - Villarreal 2
Aouate; Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Pablo Amo (Taborda 82'), Coloccini, Filipe Luis;
Wilhelmsson, De Guzmán, Sergio, Lafita (Guardado 77'); Xisco (Riki 63').
Team changes: Deportivo: Lafita for Juan Rodríguez, Xisco for, Bodipo / Villarreal: Angel, Cygan, Bruno, Mati Fernández, Tomasson, Guille Franco for Javi Venta, Godín, Marcos Senna, Nihat, Pires, Rossi.
Deportivo qualified for the Intertoto Cup despite a 0-2 defeat against Villarreal in the last match of the season. With teams such as Mallorca, Almería and Racing not pre-registered for the competition, only Athletic Bilbao stood between them and a place in Europe, something which appeared way out of reach when they were languishing down in the relegation spots at the turn of the year. But a great second half of the season which included seven home wins in a row had taken them up in to the top half of the table, and with a three point lead over the Basque side they only needed to draw to qualify.
Villarreal were already sure of second spot in the table, but they were not going to lie down after their best ever season. Tomasson hit the post midway through the first half, and with just over half an hour gone Mati Fernández opened the scoring with an impressive shot inside the far post after making himself space.
By then Bilbao had scored in Sevilla, but five minutes later the locals fans cheered as news came in that the Andalusians had equalised. Even so the Galicians could not get going, and only Riki caused any problems for Diego López, who had kept four clean sheets in a row before this game. And with the match already in injury time Guille Franco finished off a team passing move to make sure of a sixth win in a row for Pellegrini's side.
Villarreal finished with 77 points, one more than Real Madrid got when they won the title last year, but still eight behind the champions this season. A great campaign though, and their reward is a direct spot in the Champions League proper. Depor will also be in Europe after it was confirmed that Bilbao had lost, a recognition of the good work by Lotina and his side, with special mention for Coloccini, the first outfield player for several years to play every minute of the league.