La Liga Wrap: Barca claim record haul, Depor down
By Football News
La Liga champions Barcelona finished the season with a record-equalling haul of 100 points after a 4-1 victory over Malaga on Saturday.
The Camp Nou side dominated the early exchanges and found themselves 3-0 up inside 16 minutes, following goals from David Villa, Cesc Fabregas and a great finish from Martin Montoya.
Andres Iniesta put the result beyond doubt in the 52nd minute before Pedro Morales volleyed home a consolation goal for the visitors and outgoing coach Manuel Pellegrini.
Eric Abidal made an emotional final appearance for Barcelona, who finished the season 15 points ahead of Real Madrid after their arch-rivals beat Osasuna 4-2.
Jose Mourinho bid farewell to the Santiago Bernabeu after the game, in which Gonzalo Higuain and Michael Essien netted first-half goals for the hosts.
Roberto Torres and Alvaro Cejudo restored parity after the break but Karim Benzema and Jose Callejon scored to secure the three points.
The race for a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League and the battle to beat the drop all needed deciding during the final day of fixtures. Both of these proved to be settled during Deportivo La Coruna’s 1-0 defeat to Real Sociedad at Riazor.
Antoine Griezmann scored the only goal of the game when he scuffed a close-range finish in off the post, which relegated the hosts and secured Sociedad’s unlikely fourth-place finish.
Valencia could have sealed UEFA Champions League qualification with three points but slipped to a dramatic 4-3 defeat at Sevilla.
Alvaro Negredo netted all four goals for the hosts, the first of which was an overhead kick five minutes before half time to cancel out Ever Banega’s 12th-minute opener.
Valencia forward Jonas was shown a straight red card for a late challenge inside the area and Negredo converted the spot-kick with ease.
Roberto Soldado kept the dramatic match alive as he equalised with a volley, but that did not matter as Negredo netted another two goals in response, before Soldado scored two minutes from time.
Celta Vigo’s 1-0 win over Espanyol helped them to survive by a single point, with Natxo Insa's 14th-minute goal proving to be the difference.
Real Mallorca beat Real Valladolid 4-2 at the Iberostar Stadium but needed all three relegation rivals to lose to have any hope of survival.
The home side showed urgency from the outset and went ahead in the 17th minute through Alejandro Alfaro, but were pegged back by an Alberto Bueno header.
Marti restored Mallorca’s lead just ahead of the half-time break, before Giovanni Dos Santos curled in a clever effort from 20 yards and Javi Marquez made the three points safe with a powerful finish in the 69th minute.
Atletico Madrid left it late to seal Real Zaragoza’s fate as Arda Turan netted six minutes from time at La Romareda. Helder Postiga pulled one back for the hosts but Brazilian striker Diego Costa scored a quickfire brace to give third-placed Atletico the win and send Zaragoza down.
Elsewhere, Rayo Vallecano and Athletic Bilbao celebrated mid-table safety by sharing a four-goal thriller at the Estadio Teresa Rivero.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men after just nine minutes when Artiz Aduriz was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Franco Vazquez broke the deadlock with a close-range finish in the 19th minute but Markel Susaeta equalised for Bilbao, despite their numerical disadvantage.
Jon Aurtenetxe headed home a measured cross from Ibai Gomez to give the visitors a surprise lead, but that only lasted eight minutes as Piti restored parity with his 17th goal of the season.
Real Betis played out a 1-1 draw at Levante to make sure of seventh place and definite UEFA Europa League qualification, as Malaga are still banned from competing, while Granada ran out 2-0 winners against a Getafe side who effectively had little to play for.