Madrid: Getafe recorded their highest ever
finish in La Liga sealing sixth place and European
qualification with a 3-0 win at recently-crowned Europa League
champions Atletico Madrid.
Foward Roberto Soldado scored a brace in each half to
help Getafe overcome local rivals Atletico yesterday and
qualify for next season's Europa League.
Villarral needed Getafe to drop points to stand any
chance of pipping their rivals but could only draw 3-3 at Real
Zaragoza to finish two points behind Getafe.
Getafe escaped relegation on the final day of last season
so this result is a testament to the fine work of highly-rated
coach Michel. It will be their second venture in Europe
following a UEFA Cup bow in 2008 when they reached the
Atletico, who fielded a second string side against
Getafe, are down in ninth but the Europa League winners are
still in with a chance of a cup double when they take on
Sevilla in Wednesday's Kings Cup final.
For Villarreal, league runners-up in 2008, it was a
disappointing season as they failed to come to terms with the
summer departure of coach Manuel Pellegrini to Real Madrid.
Elsewhere Athletic Bilbao rounded off their season with a
2-0 victory over Deportivo La Coruna to finish eighth in the
Bilbao had been fighting for a Europa League spot, lying
sixth with six games left, but had to settle for eighth --
their best finish in La Liga since 2004 when they were fifth.
Later yesterday Sevilla and Real Mallorca will battle it
out for fourth place and the final Champions League qualifying
Sevilla are a point ahead of Mallorca, the surprise
package of the season, and travel to an Almeria side that have
nothing but pride to play for.
Mallorca were never expected to be challenging for the
top four but under coach Gregorio Manzano they are in with a
shot in the final game of the season and need to win at home
to Espanyol and hope Sevilla draw or lose.
The destination of the Spanish league title will be
decided on Sunday with champions Barcelona needing to beat
Valladolid at Camp Nou to retain their trophy.
Barcelona have notched a record 96 points but Real
Madrid, who travel to Malaga, are just one point behind.
Real need to win and hope Barcelona slip-up to steal the
title from their grasp after spending vitually the entire
season chasing their rivals.
Coach Pellegrini has faced speculation over his future
all season and the Chilean admitted the talk of Inter Milan
coach Jose Mourinho was unsettling.
At the bottom of the table five teams are battling for
survival on the final day with Xerez, Valladolid, Malaga,
Tenerife and Racing Santander all in danger.
First Published: Sunday, May 16, 2010, 09:38