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PHOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS-FCB.

Valencia push Villarreal to the brink

A narrow home win for Valencia against local rivals Villarreal confirmed a third-place
finish for a third consecutive season. The only goal of the match came deep into injury
time from Brazilian international striker Jonas. The defeat leaves Villarreal just a point
clear of the drop zone and needing a win at home to Atlético Madrid in the final match
of the campaign to guarantee first division football next season.

The countdown to Europe

Meanwhile, Atlético kept their sights on Champions League football with a 2-1
home win against Malaga, who remain in fourth place with 53 points, two ahead of
their victors with one game to go. However, Levante suffered a setback to their CL
ambitions by losing 1-0 away to Mallorca, leaving both teams on 52 points. The same
result against fellow Basques Real Sociedad means that Osasuna climb to eighth on 51
points and also stay in the fight for a Europa League finish.

Five to battle against the drop

At the wrong end of the table, and with Racing Santander already relegated, five
clubs will go into the final match of the season competing to avoid the two remaining
relegation places. Despite a plucky 2-1 home win over Betis, Sporting Gijón will still
need to win next weekend and pray that the teams above them drop points. The same
score line also keeps Zaragoza’s hopes of survival alive as they came from behind to
beat Santander, while defeats for Rayo, Villarreal and Granada mean that their struggle
to stay up will also go right to the line. Rayo suffered a 5-2 corrective away to Sevilla
while Granada were beaten 2-1 at home by Real Madrid. Granada had taken an early
lead but were punished in the final minutes by a disputed Cristiano Ronaldo penalty in
the 81st and an own goal three minutes into injury time.

In the day’s remaining match, Athletic Club played out a goalless draw at home to
Getafe – no doubt with their Europa League and Spanish Cup finals very much on their
minds – leaving both teams in mid-table no man’s land. However, Athletic Club have already
qualified for Europe via the Spanish Cup, whatever the result of the final against Barça.

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