Real Madrid were crowned the La Liga 2019-20 champions after they bear Villarreal 2-1 on Thursday at the empty Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium. Their cause was strengthened further by the unexpected 1-2 defeat of Barcelona at the hands of Osasuna.
Karim Benzema was the star of the night for Los Blancos as he scored a brace to help them win their 34th Spanish league title. The French striker scored his first of the match in the 17th minute and followed it up with a controversial penalty at the fag end of the contest.
Vicente Iborra added some tension to the game with a late strike for Villarreal with five minutes to play, but in the end even a defeat would have been enough for Real Madrid to win the league.
Meanwhile, at the Camp Nou tension has grown bitter with Barcelona showing no sign of recovery. The rumours of Lionel Messi leaving and the players’ rift with coach Quique Setien seem to have taken a heavy toll from the Catalan giants as they squandered their lead at the top and eventually lost the La Liga title to Real Madrid after the resumption of football.
Jose Arnaiz gave Osasuna an unexpected lead in the 15th minute. The first half did not feature any breakthrough and it took Barcelona more than 45 minutes to bring parity into the contest, thanks to a brilliant curling free-kick from Lionel Messi.
But the visitors had a final trick up their sleeves even when they were reduced to 10 men. After Enrich Gallego was sent off in tje the 77th minute, Barcelona failed to take the advantage of having more leg on the field and the visitors netted a shock winner late in the second half through Roberto Torres.
Even though the defeat hardly made a difference to an already-dejected domestic season for Barcelona, the future of Setien appears likely to be over. However, with Champions League football set to return next month, an inspirational comeback under his tutelage can still save his job.
Elsewhere, goals from Marcos Llorente and Thomas Partey gave Atletico Madrid a 2-0 win away to Getafe to keep them firmly in third, while Sevilla’s 0-0 draw away to Real Sociedad means they will finish at least in fourth.
Those two results means that both Getafe and Real Sociedad still have work to do to assure a place in next season’s Europa League, after Valencia beat already relegated Espanyol 1-0 thanks to a Kevin Gameiro goal and Granada came back from a goal down to win 2-1 away to relegation-bound Mallorca.
Juan Camilo, who would later be sent off in injury time, put Mallorca ahead in the 20th minute, but Granada drew level thanks to Victor Diaz in first half injury time and Carlos Fernandez kept Granada’s European dreams alive with 20 minutes to play, while condemning Mallorca to a swift return to the second division.
Leganes kept their slim hopes of survival alive with a 2-0 win away to Athletic Club Bilbao. Javier Aguirre’s men were given a huge boost when home goalkeeper Unai Simon was sent off in the 22nd minute, but it wasn’t until the 79th minute that Miguel Angel Guerrero opened the scoring and Roger Assale secured the win deep into injury time.
Leganes will duel it out with Celta Vigo to avoid the last relegation spot after Celta lost 3-2 at home to Levante. Santi Mina and Iago Aspas scored to pull Celta back from 2-0 down after two goals from Enis Bardhi, but Borja Mayoral scored a 52nd minute winner to break Celta’s hearts.
Elsewhere Alaves secured their top-flight future with a 2-1 win away to Betis thanks to goals from Joselu and Rodrigo Ely, while Eibar beat Valladolid 3-1 in the only game played with nothing at stake.
With IANS inputs