Real Madrid inflicted yet more pain on Tony Adams’ Granada side as their B team, featuring a side that had nine changes from the team that beat Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-final in midweek. Even then, it took just 35 minutes for James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata to both have registered braces and earned a 4-0 win that allowed Zinedine Zidane’s side to coast through the final 55 minutes and give substantial game time to the likes of the rarely seen Fabio Coentrao, Danilo and Mariano Diaz.
Not to be outdone, Barcelona overcame their toughest remaining fixture at the Nou Camp against Villarreal to ensure that they kept the pressure up on Los Blancos, as they saw off the Yellow Submarine by four goals to one. The MSN trio were on form with Neymar producing a magical display, opening the scoring before Lionel Messi scored twice and Luis Suarez also found the back of the net after Cedric Bakambu had drawn the scores back level on the counter attack.
One of the most impressive results of the weekend came at El Molinon, where Sporting Gijon secured a pivotal three points against Las Palmas to keep their survival hopes alive. Quique Setien’s team are in freefall without a win in five games and Carlos Carmona’s second half goal gave Sporting hope of escaping the bottom three and avoiding relegation.
Unfortunately for them, Leganes were not prepared to do them a favour and produced potentially their best display of the season to all but guarantee their safety with a six point lead over Sporting with two games to play. Their 4-0 thrashing of Real Betis was a shock for many from a side who have not been known for their goalscoring this season, but does look likely to have earned the minnows a place in La Liga for next season.
It also meant that they climbed above Deportivo A Coruna, who are in danger only five points above Sporting after Leo Baptistao and Gerard Moreno gave RCD Espanyol an impressive win at Riazor, with Florin Andone’s goal nothing more than a consolation strike. With just one win in nine since the peak of their Pepe Mel honeymoon saw them beat Barcelona, there may be cause for concern in Galicia.
In the race for Europe, Sevilla dropped yet more points as they were held by the ten men of Real Sociedad as David Zurutuza saw red for two yellow cards in five minutes after Carlos Vela had canceled out Pablo Sarabia’s strike just before the break to give Jorge Sampaoli’s team the lead.
Athletic Bilbao failed to take advantage of Real Sociedad’s draw as they went down in a 1-0 defeat to Alaves, with Real Madrid bound Theo Hernandez scoring his first professional goal with a thunderbolt of a strike into the top corner to earn his loan club three points against the Basque side.
Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid virtually guaranteed themselves third place with a win over Eibar, which leaves them out of the running for a Europa League place, as Saul scored with a fine finish. Diego Godin’s red card, reportedly for telling the linesman to put his glasses on, marred an otherwise perfect afternoon at the Calderon.
Here are the weekend’s results in full:
Sevilla 1-1 Real Sociedad
Sporting Gijon 1-0 Las Palmas
Atletico Madrid 1-0 Eibar
Barcelona 4-1 Villarreal
Granada 0-4 Real Madrid
Deportivo Alaves 1-0 Athletic Bilbao
Valencia 4-1 Osasuna
Deportivo A Coruna 1-2 RCD Espanyol
Malaga 3-0 Celta Vigo
Leganes 4-0 Real Betis
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