Atletico Madrid appear set to take home the La Liga title, but anything can happen in the final few weeks of the season.
The talented squad already moved to the finals of Champions League, where they will face Real Madrid, and they also hold a four-point lead on top of the league table. Barcelona sit in second place, but a shocking draw against Getafe has all but ended their title hopes.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid are not out of the running either despite being six points back, thanks mostly to a match in hand against Valladolid.
Each of these top clubs have interesting battles set to take place on Matchday 36 that could end up deciding the league title. However, each squad will need a big-time effort from key players in order to secure the three points.
Here is a look at the results from the weekend, as well as a breakdown of the top scorers for all teams.
|May 2||Rayo Vallecano||0-3||Athletic Bilbao|
|May 3||Osasuna||0-2||Celta Vigo|
|May 4||Almeria||3-2||Real Betis|
|May 4||Levante||2-0||Atletico Madrid|
|May 4||Real Madrid||2-2||Valencia|
|May 5||Real Sociedad||1-1||Granada|
|1||Mikel San Jose||Athletic Bilbao|
|1||Oscar de Marcos||Athletic Bilbao|
|1||Ander Herrera||Athletic Bilbao|
|1||Garry Mendes Rodrigues||Elche|
|1||Antonio Rukinova||Real Valladolid|
|1||Alexis Vidal Parreu||Almeria|
|1||Braian Rodriguez||Real Betis|
|1||Salva Sevilla||Real Betis|
|1||Filipe Luis (OG)||Atletico Madrid|
|1||Sergio Ramos||Real Madrid|
|1||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid|
|1||Carlos Vela||Real Sociedad|
Athletic Bilbao essentially secured a spot in next year's Champions League by earning a 3-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano in Friday's only La Liga match.
This victory was far from certain, due to the club's struggles on the road this year, but the three points give them a nine-point lead with just two matches remaining. Unless they lose two matches, Sevilla wins three and an eight-goal differential is covered, the race for a top-four spot is over.
Bilbao started things off exactly as they wanted with a goal by Mikel San Jose in the 20th minute off a corner kick. The club's Twitter account noted the atmosphere in the stadium:
San Jose heel clips the ball past the keeper and the Athletic fans are losing it!!! #UCL here we come!— Athletic Club Bilbao (@AthleticClub_EN) May 2, 2014
This excitement only grew when Oscar De Marcos doubled the lead 10 minutes later, giving the road team an almost insurmountable lead. The fans went so crazy they broke the railing:
Bilbao'lu oyuncuların yardımıyla yıkılan portatif tribün yerine konulmaya çalısıldı pic.twitter.com/VeD2G4IlMA— La Liga Turkiye (@LaligaTurkiyee) May 2, 2014
Ander was then able to put the match out of reach with a third goal in the 74th minute. Meanwhile, the defense did its job to prevent any quality opportunities from Rayo Vallecano. The home team took 11 shots, but few of them were good looks at the net.
Before the match, Ernesto Valverde wanted to make sure his squad remained focused. The head coach explained, "Nothing has been achieved yet (for the Champions League). The players have no fear, we know what it has taken to get this far and that we have to win every game," via Paul Logothetis of the Associated Press, h/t the Miami Herald.
He did a great job of keeping his team from getting ahead of itself, and now it is in position to play in the UCL a year from now. In a league that features the two finalists for the European title as well as the extremely talented Barcelona, this is quite an accomplishment.
On Saturday, the most important result of the day was clearly Barcelona sputtering to a 2-2 draw against Getafe, thanks to an extra-time equalizer by Lafita.
Barca still have a match against Atletico Madrid to make up ground, but they need losses from both Madrid powerhouses to truly have a chance at repeating in La Liga.
It's hard to figure out if it was one point gained for Real Sociedad or two points lost. They went down to 10 men in the 56th minute after the sending-off of Mikel Gonzalez and then found a go-ahead goal courtesy of Carlos Vela in the 78th minute.
Odion Ighalo equalized in 93rd minute to snatch a point for Granada, who themselves went down to 10 men after Recio picked up his second yellow in the 54th minute.
Granada, moved three points clear of Osasuna, who sit in 18th. That point could be big in securing their place in La Liga next year.
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