Málaga took a giant step towards Champions League football next season, rounding off a terrible week for Valencia with a 1-0 win, whilst Villarreal are increasingly in danger of the drop after this weekend’s round of games
Piqué playing against Màlaga / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
Málaga close in on Champions League spot
A first half goal from Camacho was enough to give Málaga the points against Valencia, who had Feghouli sent off on the hour mark, and leave them level on 55 points, with Valencia ahead on goal difference. Valencia’s under fire boss Unai Emery admitted: “it was a fair result. Once we were down to 10 men, they looked more likely to make it 2-0 than we did to equalise, but third place is still in our own hands”. Valencia have two home games, against Osasuna and Villarreal and a trip to Donosti to play Real Sociedad on the final day of the season, whilst Málaga visit the Camp Nou and the Vicente Calderón, before ending the season with a home game against Sporting.
Levante still in the chase
Levante may still have a part to play in the fight for third or fourth though, after beating Granada 3-1 to move onto 52 points, with trips to Zaragoza and Mallorca and a final day home game against Athletic Club to come. Atlético Madrid inched into sixth on 49, a point ahead of Bilbao, with a 2-2 draw at Betis. With just five minutes left to play, Atlético were one up and looked likely to take the three points, before two quick strikes from Pozuelo and Pereira turned the game around, only for Falcao to claim a last gasp equaliser for Simeone’s team. Bilbao themselves were well beaten by Zaragoza (2-0) and seem to have their focus firmly fixed on their upcoming two Cup finals. Osasuna (48 points) kept their European hope alive with a 1-1 draw at Villarreal, whilst Sevilla’s 3-0 defeat at the Bernabéu leaves them a further two points behind, together with Mallorca who won 1-3 at Getafe.
Villarreal back in the relegation dogfight
Raul Garcia’s second half equaliser for Osasuna pitched Villarreal back into the relegation dogfight, after Bruno had apparently given Lotina’s team a lifeline with his 43 rd minute opener. Like Zaragoza, Sporting are still in with a chance of catching Villarreal after beating Espanyol 0- 3 at El Prat with three second half goals and the two both now sit just four points off Villarreal, who travel to Gijon in midweek for what could well be a relegation decider. After that game, Villarreal are away to Valencia and at home to Atlético Madrid, whilst Sporting are at home to Betis and away to Málaga, with Zaragoza hosting Levante and Racing, before travelling to Getafe on the final day of the season.
One team who won’t be suffering the stress of an end of season relegation fight are Racing, who were mathematically relegated after their 3-0 defeat at Real Sociedad.