…Villarreal and Sevilla clinch Europa League spots
Barcelona’s bid for a historic unbeaten campaign ended in dramatic fashion at Levante, while we now know who will represent LaLiga in Europe next season.
2017/18 champions Barcelona’s record run without defeat in LaLiga was stopped at 43 games in a nine-goal thriller at Levante on Sunday evening. The home side raced into an incredible 5-1 lead before the hour mark thanks to a hat-trick from young Ghanaian forward Boateng and a double strike from Macedonian international Enis Bhardi, only for Philippe Coutinho’s hat-trick and Luis Suarez’s penalty to almost but not quite keep the Blaugrana’s unbeaten run alive.
Second placed Atletico Madrid warmed up for Wednesday’s 2018 Europa League final against Marseille with a 1-0 victory at neighbours Getafe on Saturday afternoon. Midfielder Koke grabbed the only goal of a game which also saw Atleti goalkeeper Jan Oblak make another fine penalty save.
Real Madrid remain in third after they continued preparations for May 26’s Champions League final against Liverpool in Kiev with a 6-0 win over Celta Vigo. Gareth Bale [two], Isco, Achraf Hakimi and Toni Kroos all got on the score sheet for Los Blancos.
Villarreal ensured they would be playing UEFA competition for a ninth time in 11 years next season with their 4-2 victory at Deportivo La Coruña on Saturday afternoon. Samu Castillejo [two], Manu Trigueros and Denis Cheryshev scored for the visitors, with Borja Valle finding the net twice in relegated Depor’s last game of the campaign at Riazor.
Getafe’s defeat allowed Sevilla to secure seventh place and the final Europa League qualifying spot in Saturday’s entertaining 2-2 derby draw at Real Betis. Marc Bartra headed Betis ahead on just four minutes, Wissam Ben Yedder equalised early in the second half, Simon Kjaer then put the visitors ahead before substitute Loren Moron scored to wrap up a result which ensures both teams from the Andalusia capital will be playing in Europe next term
Many of the weekends other games featured farewells for some of LaLiga’s most loved players. This was especially the case at Anoeta where Xabi Prieto and Carlos Martinez – who have between them served 26 seasons in the Real Sociedad first team – were honoured after their side beat Leganes 3-2. Eibar pair Dani Garcia and Ander Capa were also applauded off after their last appearance for the club at Ipurua brought a 1-0 victory over Las Palmas.
Elsewhere in the Basque Country, Alaves secured local bragging rights with a 3-1 victory over Athletic Club on Saturday afternoon, with strikes from John Guidetti, Munir El-Haddadi and Ibai Gomez ensuring the Vitoria-based side will finish the LaLiga season ahead of their local rivals from Bilbao
Over in Catalonia, meanwhile, Luciano Vietto scored the only goal of the game as Valencia beat Girona 1-0 at Montilivi, while Espanyol gave their fans something to cheer about with a 4-1 victory over Malaga in their final home game of the 2017/18 season, with Gerard Moreno, Sergio Garcia, Leo Baptistao and Pablo Piatti all netting.