Already with the title in the bag, Real Madrid ended the season with a 5 – 2 win over Levante before lifting the trophy to spark wild celebrations at the Santiago Bernabeu.
At the other end of the table, the scrap to stay in the top flight went right down to the wire and indeed, the final few minutes of the season. All the news from the last round in La Liga come from our Spanish correspondent Felipe Bazon.
Murcia 3 vs. 5 Barcelona
In their last game with Rijkaard in command, Barcelona ended the season with dignity and a big win at relegated side Murcia. The home side took a shock lead but Barça soon equalized through Samuel Eto’o and took the lead through Henry, after a misunderstanding between Murcia’s defenders. However it was Giovani dos Santos who was the star of the show, completing his first ever first hat trick for Barcelona as he rattled in goals 3, 4 and 5. Murcia grabbed a consolation at the end but Barca were not to be denied.
Mallorca 3 vs. 2 Zaragoza
Despite their array of talent and big name players, Zaragoza were relegated after a see-saw match away to Mallorca. Needing a point to stay up, Zaragoza fell behind as La Liga’s top scorer Guiza netted his 27th of the season to put the home team in front. Zaragoza were back in it though when Ricardo Oliveira headed home a second half equaliser. But Webó also with a header gave the lead back to Mallorca and Castro touched home the third as the 90 minutes ticked away. There was still time for Oliveira to notch a second but the team that no-one expected to go down hadn’t done enough and finished the season third from bottom.
Recreativo 1 vs. 1 Valladolid
The draw was good enough for both teams, as they secured their top flight status for next season. Llorente got in on the end of a cross from Pedro Lopéz to put Valladolid in front and it looked as if they had all three points wrapped up until Javi Guerrero equalised for Recreativo in the 3rd minute of injury time to keep Recreativo in La Liga for at least another season.
Racing 1 vs. 0 Osasuna
Racing won by the minimum count and secured a place in next season’s Uefa Cup while Osasuna avoided the drop thanks to Zaragoza’s defeat at Mallorca. Iván Bolado scored the only goal of the match, slotting home a pass from Tchité to ensure a European jaunt for the home team in 2008 / 2009.
Getafe 1 vs. 1 Betis
With nothing at stake in this final match between Getafe and Betis, both teams shared the points with a fair 1-1 draw. Getafe grabbed an early lead through Manu who got behind Betis’ defence and rounded the keeper. They had a chance to double the lead but Cortés failed from the penalty spot. Betis’ equaliser only came in the second half through Nano who deflected in a corner from the right.
Valencia 3 vs. 1 Atlético Madrid
Valencia commanded the whole match and played probably what was their best game at home this season. David Villa, a transfer target for a number of English Premier League clubs, was the man of the match as he forced an own goal and scored the other two. Kun Aguero who has also been linked with a move to England, managed to get one back for Atlético Madrid who finished 4th in the table and so took the final Champions League spot.
Real Madrid 5 vs. 2 Levante
Levante’s players called off a possible strike although they were powerless to stop the champions finishing on a high. With two from Van Nistelroy, two from Sergio Ramos and a brilliant free kick from Sneijder, Real Madrid sealed the 07-08 season in style and lifted the league trophy for the 31st time.
Sevilla 4 vs. 1 Athletic Bilbao
In a meaningless match, Atheltic grabbed an early lead through Anduriz from the penalty spot but before the break Fred Kanouté equalised for Sevilla. Keita hammered in a 25 yard free kick to give the home side the lead before Kanouté touched home the third and Jes ús Navas number four.
Espanyol 1 vs. 3 Almería
This was the 10th consecutive match that Espanyol failed to register a win, a poor streak matched only by relegated Murcia. The scoring started just before half time when Felipe Mello’s strike deflected off Zabaleta to give Almería the lead. Crusat doubled the lead in the second half but Luis Garcia gave the home side hope just four minutes later. Espanyol pressed for an equaliser but their season was to end with yet another defeat as a late goal from Paunovic sealed Almería’s victory.
Deportivo 0 vs. 2 Villareal
The best two teams of the second half of the season played out an entertaining game which went the way of the visitors. Matias Fernandez and Guille Franco’s goals were the difference between the two teams and cemented runners up spot for “El Submarino” who will go straight in to the main draw for the Champions League next season. Meanwhile Depor will be delighted to have finished in 9th spot after being at the wrong end of the table for the first 5 months of the season.
La Liga’s 07-08 Final Standings
1 R. Madrid 85
2 Villarreal 77
3 Barcelona 67
4 Atlético 64
5 Sevilla 64
6 Racing 60
7 Mallorca 59
8 Almería 52
9 Deportivo 52
10 Valencia 51
11 Athletic 50
12 Espanyol 48
13 Betis 47
14 Getafe 47
15 Valladolid 45
16 Recreativo 44
17 Osasuna 43
18 Zaragoza 42
19 Murcia 30
20 Levante 26