La Liga Week 38 Roundup: Real Madrid Clinch First Title in 5 Years

La Liga

Malaga 0-2 Real Madrid 

Zinedine Zidane led Real Madrid to their first La Liga title in five years on Sunday after his side won 2-0 against Malaga.

Real put the ghosts of Tenerife 1993 to bed before they even had a chance to start haunting. The night at La Rosaleda was just two minutes old when Malaga centre back Luis Hernandez – once of Leicester – inexplicably fluffed a clearance straight into the path of Isco who laid a through ball on for Cristiano Ronaldo to advance, round Kameni, and settle the nerves. 1-0. Malaga went close on several occasions – twice through Sandro Ramirez – before Karim Benzema sealed the title in the 55th minute scoring a rebound after Kameni had successfully repelled an effort from Sergio Ramos.

Los Blancos celebrated on the pitch after the final whistle before returning to the capital to rejoice in their 33rd domestic league title with their fans late into the night. Zidane’s attention now turns to Real’s attempt to become the first team to defend the Champion’s League. They play Juventus in Cardiff on June 3rd.

Barcelona 4-2 Eibar

All of which made the night’s surprising opening sequence at the Camp Nou a shade irrelevant. Eibar’s Takashi Inui put his side a goal up inside seven minutes after finding a chasm of space in box to convert a cross from the right. The Japanese then doubled the score with another delightful finish that left Ter Stegen flapping. An out-of-sorts Barca finally managed to rouse themselves for the final 30 minutes in which they scored four goals to take the win and ensure Real had to do their job to win the title. In reality the title was already gone but lingering hope kills all. Their thoughts now turn to Luis Enrique’s swansong in the Copa del Rey against Alaves.

There was a distinct sense of being on holiday across the division in truth. Relegation and the Champion’s League were already decided and the title was a formality.

Atletico Madrid 3-1 Athletic Bilbao 

The only true thing to be decided was the Europa League spots which went to Villarreal and Real Sociedad after Athletic Bilbao lost 3-1 to Atletico Madrid at the final game at the Vicente Calderon. Fittingly, Fernando Torres netted twice – his second a semi-overhead volley. The Calderon was packed with murals of red and white, singing from start to finish. It will be missed.

Valencia 1-3 Villarreal

Villarreal confirmed their place in Europe by beating Valencia in the Valencian Community derby. Roberto Soldado scored in the first minute to ruin Voro’s send-off party. Los Che’s ever reliable deputy will be replaced in the dugout by former Villarreal manager Marcelino next year when Valencia will then be aiming for the Europa League.

Celta Vigo 2-2 Real Sociedad

Real Sociedad then took the other spot thanks to a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo.

The Bottom End of the Table

Now to the drop zone where Tony Adams achieved the unenviable task of losing all his games in charge of Granada. This season couldn’t have ended any faster for him or his team. They were beaten 2-1 at home by Espanyol on Friday night. Their fellow combatants of next year’s Liga 123, Osasuna, had the toughest of farewells getting beaten 5-0 by Sevilla in Andulucia. Sampaoli is set to now leave Sevilla to take the Argentina job. Sporting Gijon meanwhile acquitted themselves fairly well getting a 2-2 draw at home to Real Betis.

And to round off Leganes and Alaves drew 1-1 and Las Palmas ended by losing five in a row after going down 3-0 at the Riazor against Deportivo La Coruna.