Madrid, June 5 (IANS) Valladolid were relegated from La Liga to the Spanish second division, Liga Smart Bank, in a dramatic finale to the season.
Valladolid ended with a 0-0 draw at home against Getafe. Coupled with other results, this led to their relegation, despite spending parts of the second half out of the relegation zone, as Almeria momentarily trailed away to Espanyol, reports Xinhua.
The games began at 9 pm local time with six teams in danger of relegation, but each held their destiny in their hands.
Despite Valladolid’s inability to penetrate a strong Getafe defense, a defeat for Almeria away to Espanyol, who were relegated last week, would have been enough to save Valladolid from the drop, simultaneously sending Almeria down.
El Bilal Toure put Almeria ahead after 10 minutes, but Javi Puado equalized three minutes later. When Romael Pierre-Gabriel gave Espanyol the lead in the 49th minute, Almeria found themselves momentarily in the bottom three.
Adri Embarba equalized for Almeria in the 58th minute, moving Valladolid back into 18th place. But Luka Koleosho put Espanyol ahead in the 73rd minute, momentarily putting Valladolid back in a safe spot.
However, a foul on Largie Ramazani three minutes from the end gave Embarba the opportunity to level from the penalty spot. He made no mistake, keeping Almeria afloat and relegating Valladolid.
Elsewhere, Gabri Veiga likely made his final appearance for Celta memorable with a brace in their 2-1 win at home against Barcelona.
Barcelona, the league champions, appeared to have started their holidays early, though Ansu Fati did manage a late consolation goal in what might be his last game for the club.
Cadiz secured safety after a 1-1 draw away to Elche, thanks to Gonzalo Escalante and a leveler from Lucas Boye. Betis and Valencia also drew 1-1, with Ayoze Perez scoring for Betis in the first minute. Diego Lopez, a young prospect, netted a second-half equalizer for Valencia as Betis legend Joaquin Sanchez played his last game before retiring.
Two second-half goals from Ante Budimir secured Osasuna a spot in European football next season, with a 2-1 win at home against Girona.
Osasuna knew a win would confirm seventh place and a spot in the Conference League, regardless of other results. Budimir capitalized on crosses from Kike Barja and Jon Moncayola in the 51st and 54th minute, tipping the game in Osasuna’s favor. The Pamplona side held on for three points, despite Reinier Carvalho’s 74th-minute goal for Girona.
This result meant that regardless of Athletic Bilbao’s result away to Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, Osasuna were assured seventh place.
Athletic saw Thibaut Courtois save Mikel Vesga’s first-half penalty. Still, they took the lead early in the second half with Oihan Sancet’s close range finish. Courtois’ excellent saves prevented further goals.
Real Madrid announced earlier in the day that Karim Benzema would leave the club at the end of the season. Benzema bid farewell with a goal, scoring from the penalty spot with 18 minutes left to play. He left the pitch to a standing ovation, with Marco Asensio also receiving applause from the crowd in his last game for the club.
Real Madrid’s draw earned them second place in La Liga, following Atletico Madrid’s 2-2 draw away to Villareal. Jorge Pascual’s 91st-minute goal saved a point for Villareal.
Nicolas Jackson scored again to put Villareal ahead in the eighth minute, but two goals from Angel Correa seemed to secure the win for Atletico. A clear penalty claim was rejected when Mandi appeared to stop Antoine Griezmann’s goal-bound shot with his arm.
Mallorca ended the season with a 3-0 home win against Rayo Vallecano (who started the day with a slim chance of finishing seventh). Second-half goals came courtesy of Vedat Muriqi, Jose Copete, and Angel Rodriguez.
Lastly, Real Sociedad capitalised on Sevilla’s Europa League hangover to end the season with a 2-1 win, thanks to goals from Brais Mendez and Mohamed Ali-Cho in a game with nothing at stake.