Las Palmas kept their challenge for a UEFA Europa League spot alive on Monday as they secured a 3-1 win over Valencia in their La Liga clash at the Estadio Gran Canaria.
Valencia took the lead through Santi Mina after a sharp counter, although a pinpoint finish from Jonathan Viera levelled things up three minutes before half-time.
Munir El Haddadi was booked twice early in the second period to leave Valencia down to 10 men. The hosts took advantage quickly, with a stunning free-kick from Mauricio Lemos putting them in front, before Kevin-Prince Boateng made the game safe.
Earlier this weekend, Real Madrid took a significant step towards the title as they beat Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu. With nearest rivals Barcelona and Sevilla each dropping points, Zinedine Zidane's team are now four points clear with a game in hand.
Here is a look at how things are shaping up in Spanish football's top flight, a recap of Monday's contest and a reminder of the key events from Week 20.
|La Liga 2016-17: Week 20 Results|
|Eibar||3-1||Deportivo la Coruna|
|Real Madrid||3-0||Real Sociedad|
|La Liga 2016-17: Updated Standings|
|16||Deportivo La Coruna||20||4||7||9||25||32||-7||19|
Valencia's gameplan was clear from the outset as they sought to stifle their opponents in possession and play on the break. In the 21st minute, it was a tactic that helped give the visitors the lead.
A lofted ball over the top released Jose Gaya down the left, who did brilliantly to control the pass and slide a dangerous cross into the area. From there, Mina applied the finish on the slide.
Per OptaJose, despite the team's struggles, the forward is enjoying a prosperous term in front of goal:
Despite falling behind, the home side continued to keep the ball and probe patiently at the Valencia defence. Just before half-time, Las Palmas got their reward for their considered play.
The ball made its way to Boateng on the edge of the Valencia box, who cushioned the ball back into Viera's path. From there, the Las Palmas man took a quick touch before bending a curling finish beyond Diego Alves.
It was the 27-year-old's fifth goal of the Liga season; Martin Laurence of WhoScored.com is a big fan:
Having competed well in the first period, Valencia boss Voro would have been aghast to see a loss of discipline cost his team dear after the break. Munir was the culprit, as he picked up needless bookings in the 48th and 51st minute, leaving the visitors down to 10 men.
But even with 11 players on the pitch, there was nothing Valencia would have been able to do about Las Palmas' go-ahead goal. That was after Lemos, from 30 yards, curled in an unstoppable free-kick.
Per ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan, given he's a centre-back, it was a stunning strike from the 21-year-old:
Things quickly got worse for Valencia, as some inexplicable defending from Eliaquim Mangala allowed Boateng time to pick his spot in the penalty area. His calm finish put his side 3-1 up and the contest beyond any doubt.
The third Las Palmas goal sapped any momentum from the match, and while Valencia did throw caution to the wind in an attempt to cut the deficit in the latter stages, the hosts saw this one out with relative ease.
The big winners in Week 20 were Real Madrid as Sunday went almost perfectly to plan for the league leaders.
In the opening match of the day, Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw by Real Betis, with Luis Suarez's late goal rescuing a point for the visitors. As we can see here, courtesy of OptaJose, the Uruguay forward has been in wonderful form as of late:
However, the big talking point in the match was the controversial decision not to award Barcelona a goal which clearly crossed the line.
"[On the ghost goal], the ball was one metre over, but the referees can also be wrong," said Suarez afterward, per Football Espana. "Still, the images confirm that there was a goal."
Having watched Barca toil, things got even better for Los Blancos in the very next game as Sevilla came unstuck 3-1 against Espanyol. That was after Nicolas Pareja was sent off after just two minutes, meaning Jorge Sampaoli's side missed the chance to provisionally move to the top of the table.
It meant Madrid could land a significant blow in the race for the La Liga crown against Sociedad. But as noted by Corrigan, things didn't get off to the best start in this one for the hosts and their star man Cristiano Ronaldo:
However, Ronaldo set up Mateo Kovacic before half-time for the opening goal, then got on the scoresheet himself after the break with a chipped finish; Alvaro Morata wrapped things up for the hosts late on.
Kovacic spoke about the Madrid supporters following the game. "The fans were really good and were our twelfth man. We have to thank them for that," the midfielder said, per FourFourTwo. "As for Ronaldo, he's under a lot of pressure and that's to be expected. A player who gets a goal every game is under a lot of pressure, but you just can't boo him."