The relegation of Espanyol to the Second Division was the only certainty that brought about the tachycardic fight for salvation in a dramatic penultimate day in the First Division that keeps six teams on the brink of hell. Valladolid (39 points), Celta (40), Almería (40), Valencia (41), Getafe (41) and Cádiz (41) will have to row very hard next Sunday to continue in the highest category of Spanish football, throwing pepper additional to one of the most massive fights in the lower area of the table that are remembered. The good thing for them is that they all depend on themselves.
At the top of the standings, Atlético defeated Real Sociedad at the Metropolitano (2-1), thereby securing third place that will allow them to play the next edition of the Spanish Super Cup and still keeping the pulse alive with the Real Madrid for the runner-up. Griezmann put the colchoneros ahead in the first half and Nahuel Molina doubled the lead in the second half to give Diego Pablo Simeone’s team a win that kept them just one point behind their neighbor. Despite the defeat, Imanol Alguacil’s team, who closed the gap at the end of the lawsuit thanks to Sorloth, will be in the Champions League, since Villarreal fell in Vallecas (2-1) and will have to settle for playing in the Europa League, the same tournament in which Betis will be for the third consecutive season.
Osasuna, despite succumbing to Getafe at the last minute at the Alfonso Pérez Coliseum (2-1), will depend on himself on the last day to obtain a place in the Conference League thanks to Athletic’s defeats against relegated Elche in San Mamés (0-1), and Betis’ comeback against Girona in Montilivi (1-2). Rayo and Sevilla are still in the tournament, from which Mallorca finally got out after losing 3-0 to Barça in a Camp Nou surrendered to the champion.
It was a Sunday of strong emotions that reminded us of those afternoons from another time in which the fans remained glued to their transistors and with a heavy heart. Espanyol got the worst of it with a last-minute draw at Mestalla (2-2) that definitively buried their hopes of saving their necks in the cruelest way possible.
Valencia overwhelmingly dominated a rival seized by nerves in the first half hour. Diego López drove the local fans crazy, putting Baraja’s men ahead of him after picking up a bad clearance from Pacheco to Almeida’s cross, but Luis García’s men made use of their only dangerous approach before the break to equalize immediately thanks to a header by Cesar Montes. The time in the changing rooms reactivated the visitors, who completed the comeback with a goal from Braithwaite after a mistake by Mamardashvili. But Samuel Lino appeared in extra time to give Valencia oxygen and send Espanyol to Segunda. However, the squad that will visit the Benito Villamarín with the need to obtain at least one point so as not to be aware of other results
The same will happen to Celta, whom a goal from Sobrino at Nuevo Mirandilla keeps in danger (0-1). The light blues, who have only won one game in the last eleven rounds, were surpassed by a commendable Cádiz that managed to overcome two disallowed goals in the first half and has salvation within reach. It would be enough for him to sign a draw in the Elche field to ensure another year in the First Division and only a hypothetical draw as the penultimate ranked at 41 points with Getafe would condemn him. Carvalhal’s team will still have to suffer at the Camp Nou.
Those of Bordalás went from agony to ecstasy in the Coliseum. There, Chimy Ávila put Osasuna ahead in minute 2 of the game, but a spectacular header from Latasa in the final stretch of the first half brought the azulones back and Jaime Mata appeared in the throes of the clash to give him three golden points on the buzzer to a Getafe that also has a very favorable permanence. If he wins or draws at José Zorrilla, he will be saved and even a defeat would help him depending on other results.
Valladolid enters the last day as it arrived at the penultimate one, that is, in relegation places, although also depending on itself. Pezzolano’s men failed to get past a 0-0 draw at Almería and they will play their last card at home. The victory against Getafe is the only result that would prove by itself their continuity in the First Division and a defeat would send the Valladolid team to the Second Division. The draw could also help the Pucelanos, but then they will depend on what Celta and Almería do. The Indálico team will continue in the First Division if they win or draw against the evicted Espanyol, but a defeat can condemn them if Celta and Valladolid score on the last date. More wood.