Barcelona headed to Celta Vigo’s Balaidos stadium with a relatively poor recent record there against the Galicians.

Though they’d managed a 2-2 draw on their last visit, the two previous occasions they’d been in town had seen them ship four goals.

Iago Aspas had become something of a thorn in their side and so it was no surprise that he got on the score sheet again on Saturday.

In fact, when the teams were read out over the tannoy, there was a stunned disbelief from the crowd once it was apparent that Ernesto Valverde had decided to change his entire XI from the one that played against Liverpool during the week.

https://twitter.com/CuleSource/status/1124728081393045504

 

With Celta needing a win to give themselves a fighting chance of staying up, it was precisely the tonic and motivation they needed.

The game followed a familiar pattern with Barcelona dominating possession, but shorn of the likes of Messi and Suarez they never looked likely to score. Their cause wasn’t helped by Ousmane Dembele’s early injury which potentially rules him out for the season too.

It took until the 67th minute for Maxi Gomes to open the scoring, though VAR had ruled a Celta goal out before then by the slenderest of margins.

When Moussa Wague handled on 88, there was only one person that was going to step up and take the spot-kick, and Aspas duly obliged. Kissing his badge in celebration, he sent the home support delirious.

 

Villarreal had the chance to make themselves mathematically safe with a good result at the Santiago Bernabeu, so Santi Cazorla’s rush of blood after just a minute and 25 seconds did them no favours, Mariano Diaz burying the loose ball for the opening goal.

A sign of the work that Zinedine Zidane has to do over the summer could be seen in the way that Real Madrid conceded to Gerard Moreno on 11 minutes, Casemiro half asleep as the forward was allowed the freedom of the pitch to lash home the equaliser.

Jesus Vallejo’s first for the club came as a result of a lucky deflection into his path, and once Mariano grabbed his second just after half-time, one could sense that the match was going away from the Yellow Submarine.

Jaume Costa’s fine strike in injury time was little consolation for the visitors who will have to beat either Eibar or Champions League chasing Getafe to ensure another season in the top flight.

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 05: Jaume Costa of Villereal scores his team's second goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Villarreal CF at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 05, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

 

Rayo Vallecano’s 4-1 defeat at Levante meant that they were the first club to be officially relegated, the appointment of Paco Jemez coming far too late for him to be able to work his magic for the Lightning.

They were followed on Sunday night by Huesca who’ve battle gamely all season but just haven’t had enough quality when it mattered.

Already 5-0 down at home to Valencia by half-time of their match at El Alcoraz, for a team that have always tried to play the right way, it was a harsh lesson in finishing, the game eventually ending 6-2 to Los Che.

Performance of the weekend from the teams at the bottom has to go to Ronaldo ‘O Fenomeno’ Nazario’s Real Valladolid.

Up against Europa League chasing Athletic Club, La Pucela were more than a match for their visitors and Waldo Rubio’s rocket deserved to win the match.

That goal lifted Valladolid out of the relegation places. A win away at Rayo next week coupled with Girona – 2-0 losers at Getafe – not taking all three points against Levante, will see them safe for another year.

 

Listen to the latest episode of the Eye On LaLiga podcast with Oliver Wilson and Jason Pettigrove: Crunch Time In Europe

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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