Morbo Minute–DDay in La Liga
The final round opened with two matches of no consequence. Valencia slumped to yet another league defeat in 2012, as they closed the book on another successful/unsuccessful season. Connor Andrews at El Centrocampista examined the club as Los Che look to move forward with a new manager (Pellegrino), a new player (Jonathan Viera) and an existing sponsor (Jinko Solar).
Barcelona also wrapped up their campaign with a 2-2 draw away to Betis. They now sit for almost two weeks before trying to send Pep off with one more trophy in the Copa del Rey Final on 5/25.
Maria recapped the game for Total Barca, assessing the personnel for the match (Afellay, Keita and Montoya in particular) as much as the performance, with the Blaugrana able to secure a draw despite having Alves sent off. The campaign was not as successful as the previous three, but what joy they provided those who watched.
Looking ahead to the summer transfer window Lee Roden tried to temper enthusiasm regarding new signings. He is pretty confident that FCB will not break a broke Spanish bank to sign RvP, Thiago Silva, Bale and Javi Martinez. The squad should be strengthened by the return of Villaand the club just needs to make one or two astute signings, preferably Thiago Silva and Jordi Alba for me. Sounds just about right.
After a dramatic Sunday morning following the twists and turns of the Premier League, I was able to calm down (thanks to a couple of beers and a shot of whiskey) to get ready for the final round of La Liga matches, which would prove to be equally compelling, albeit at the other end of the table.
Finding games was tough. US TV decided to show Real Madrid against Mallorca, a game only significant because Los Blancos were going for a record 100 league points, a goal that they duly hit in thrashing the visitors 4-1.
Madridista Mac woke up on Monday morning basking in the glow of another “Formula One Football” performance by the league champs that saw Ronaldo complete the task of scoring against every team in the league in one season; the club hitting 100 points; and the team going through every gear in demolishing their opponent. As a Barca fan, I respect Real Madrid rather than hate them and am interested to see what their next act is. After this season it is hard to imagine how even Sergio Ramos can let the trophy slip from his grasp.
My legit internet option was Levante hosting Athletic Bilbao, and this was a key game in the race for Europe. I kept an eye on the match in first half but eventually my attention was drawn elsewhere. Los Granotes would eventually run out 3-0 winners to finish sixth and cap off a phenomenal season.
Jack at Athletic Bilbao Offside summed up the last couple of weeks in one sentence: With league form sacrificed for the two cup runs, our final position wasn’t going to matter much this season but the defeat is still disappointing. Los Leones finished tenth in La Liga and now look ahead to the Copa del Rey Final against FC Barcelona. Here’s hoping they are well rested and give the Blaugrana a game.
The real drama was at the bottom of the table, with five teams fighting to avoiding relegation. At kickoff, I found feeds for Levante/Athletic and Rayo/Granada, while getting constant updates on Villarreal against Atletico Madrid. Rayo and Granada were slugging it out and neither team could get the opener. At halftime, all the games involving relegation teams were scoreless, but shortly into the second half, things began to change. First Zaragoza scored to get them out of the bottom three. Then Malaga got a goal against Sporting through Rondon, which dented Gijon’s chances of survival. Time continued to tick away as the Rayo/Granada game was scoreless, meaning that Rayo would go down. The game opened up, chances started to materialize, but Rayo could not find the saving goal. Entering the last five minutes, another twist to the story appeared as Falcao scored yet another goal to put Villarreal in real trouble. That trouble was compounded when Tamundo smashed in the ball from close range to finally sink the Yellow Submarine after a difficult, and disappointing, season. The scenes were phenomenal with fans rushing the field and opposing players embracing, everyone able to celebrate another season of Primera football. Wasn’t the greatest game, but it produced the most dramatic of results. Thanks to El Centrocampista for giving me the framework for the events.
Allen Dodson at VillarrealUSA was obviously not in the best of spirits while summarizing a game that had the worst result possible. However, he holds out hope that the Yellow Submarine bounce right back to the Primera. From his mouth to God’s ears.
Phil Ball tried to keep track of the constantly changing events of the final day that led to devastating blow to Villarreal. He also made time to praise Real Madrid’s points and goals haul, while shining a light on Mikel Aranburu, who retired from Real Sociedad after 15 years of service.
Finally, Sid Lowe’s Guardian column this week is lengthy but absolutely worth it as he describes scenes beyond comprehension in Vallecas. His account is far better than mine because a) he was there; b) he wasn’t watching several games in a beer induced haze; and c) he’s a better writer than me. Rayo were only in the relegation zone for 33 minutes of the season—the last 33 minutes. Their last gasp goal saved them and doomed Villarreal, who Sid goes on to explain were too defensive and let in too many last minute goals, with a series of draws in the run in were the source of the failure to stay up. From Champions League to Segunda in just nine months.
What a day.