Levante's relegation from La Liga was confirmed in Week 36 after a late collapse saw them lose 3-1 to Malaga on Monday at Estadio La Rosaleda.
Spain's basement club will ply their trade in the second tier for the first time since 2010, with an escape now impossible to achieve. The three teams above them—Sporting Gijon, Getafe and Rayo Vallecano—all have 35 points to their name but with Sporting and Getafe meeting next weekend, Levante are no longer able to rise above their rivals.
The Valencia club's task was made all the more difficult before arriving at Monday's fixture, with four out of the five clubs directly above them in the table securing wins this weekend. Their poor luck continued into this match round as they saw two goals ruled out before collapsing to defeat.
At the other end of the table, there was a trio of victories for the top three sides Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid. The Spanish heavyweights are separated by just a solitary point heading into the final two league matches of the season.
Take a look at the latest Liga title odds from Oddschecker, an updated Primera league table and a recap of Monday's match action.
|La Liga 2015-16 Title Odds: Week 36|
|La Liga 2015-16 Standings: Week 36|
|15||Deportivo La Coruna||36||7||18||11||43||59||-16||39|
Three points were required on Monday to give Levante any hope of survival after rivals' results went against them throughout the weekend.
However, it would prove to be a frustrating evening for Rubi's team as they saw two goals chalked off before a late meltdown which ultimately sealed their fate.
La Liga expert Sid Lowe felt sympathy after relegation was confirmed:
Sid Lowe @sidlowe
And so it ends. Beaten at Malaga, Levante are down. Sorry to see them go.2016-5-2 20:22:29
Despite knowing that a maximum points haul would be vital for Levante to retain their top-flight status, it was Malaga who enjoyed more ball retention and better openings in the first period.
However against the run of play, Mauricio Cuero found the back of the net from close range and appeared to have put the struggling visitors ahead on the half-hour mark before it was harshly ruled offside.
Agence France Presse's Spanish football correspondent Kieran Canning gave his view on the offside decision:
Kieran Canning @KieranCanning
Levante think they've gone in front at Malaga, but it's given offside about half an hour after the ball went in2016-5-2 20:02:42
Cuero played a square pass to Giuseppe Rossi, who saw his shot blocked on the line by defender Albentosa. The rebound fell kindly to the feet of Cuero, who shot into the unguarded net, but the linesman's flag was already raised before he could celebrate.
Seconds later they would be punished further as Duje Cop found the back of the net for Malaga, stabbing home an inviting cross from inside the box.
OptaJose provided the statistic which explains Levante's defensive struggles this season:
26 - Levante have conceded the first goal of the game on more occasions than of any other team in La Liga this season. Punishment.2016-5-2 19:03:52
There was to be more drama toward the end of the game as Levante had another goal disallowed. Morales met Cuero's low ball to the far post and poked it past Ochoa, only for the linesman to again rule the goal as offside.
Cop, for the second time in the contest, punished Levante's misfortune as he put Malaga ahead again in the 89th minute to put their opponents on the brink of relegation.
That was finally confirmed in the third minute of added time as Gonzalo Castro found the back of the net.
La Liga commentator Duncan Bishop felt Levante have shown their best form in recent months:
Duncan Bishop @duncanbishop84
Most entertaining, attacking Levante side in years, and this is the season they go down. Shame.2016-5-2 20:28:39
Rubi's men have shown great spirit throughout their ultimately unsuccessful campaign, playing some of their most attractive and positive football in recent years.
However, they drop down into the Segunda Division for the first time since the 2009-10 campaign with the upcoming fixture list conspiring against their chances of survival.