Real Madrid ensured that they require just a draw at Malaga at the weekend after an impressive victory over Celta Vigo in midweek, though it was a game once again surrounded in controversy as former Liverpool striker Iago Aspas was sent off for a yellow card for protesting what seemed to be a clear penalty after a handball by Raphael Varane, and then for a booking for simulation when he was seemingly fouled by Sergio Ramos. Two cracking finished from Cristiano Ronaldo gave Madrid the lead and when John Guidetti drew one back, Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos reacted quickly to put the win beyond doubt.
That was only possible after Real saw off Sevilla at the weekend with another easy win for the Bernabeu outfit. Nacho’s questionable sporting spirit saw him take a quick free-kick whilst Sevilla had let their guard down to open the scoring and changed the game, with another Ronaldo brace and late Kroos strike dismissing any hopes of a comeback after Stevan Jovetic gave Jorge Sampaoli’s team hope with an early second half strike.
Barcelona ensured that they kept the pressure up with a win over Las Palmas, with the Canary Islands outfit in freefall. A defensive injury crisis saw youngster Marlon replace Javier Mascherano after the Argentine defender pulled up with an injury in the warm up, but Neymar’s hat-trick and another goal from Luis Suarez ensured that the Catalan side go into the final game against Eibar knowing that they still stand a chance of La Liga victory.
However, there is nothing left to fight for at the bottom of the table as Leganes confirmed their place in the top flight for another year with an impressive victory at San Mames against Athletic Bilbao. After a season which has defied all expectations, the minnows saw Alexander Szymanowski cancel out Aritz Aduriz’s opener to ensure their own safety.
That left Deportivo A Coruna needing at least a point to secure their safety away at Villarreal in a tough fixture but former West Brom boss Pepe Mel saw his side keep their first clean sheet in six games to hold out for a 0-0 draw and avoid the drop after a collapse in the second half of the season put their status at risk.
Those two results meant that Resal Madrid loanee Burgui’s strike at Eibar may have given Sporting Gijon the three points but it was not enough to keep Rubi’s team in La Liga despite only being beaten once in their last five games.
Things went from bad to worse for Tony Adams at Granada as his team fell to yet another defeat to give Osasuna just their fourth win of the season and make it six consecutive defeats since the former Arsenal captain took charge, breaking records in the process, with only two goals scored and 15 conceded in 540 minutes of action.
Here are the weekend’s results in full:
RCD Espanyol 0-1 Valencia
Osasuna 2-1 Granada
Deportivo Alaves 3-1 Celta de Vigo
Athletic Bilbao 1-1 CD Leganes SAD
Real Betis 1-1 Atletico Madrid
SD Eibar 0-1 Sporting Gijon
UD Las Palmas 1-4 Barcelona
Villarreal 0-0 Deportivo A Coruna
Real Madrid 4-1 Sevilla
Real Sociedad 2-2 Malaga
Celta de Vigo 1-4 Real Madrid
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