Sports

Granada bound for Europe; Leganes relegated

By Jose Antonio Pascual

Madrid, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- Sunday’s finale to the pandemic-disrupted LaLiga season saw Granada qualify for European play for the first time in their history and Leganes consigned to relegation despite their impressive 2-2 draw with champions Real Madrid.

The Blancos clinched the title last week and Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla entered Match Day 38 in firm possession of the other three Champions League places.

Fifth place, the first Europa League spot, had already been claimed by Villarreal, but sixth and seventh were still up for grabs.

At the bottom of the table, with Espanyol and Mallorca already relegated, the only thing left to be decided was whether Celtic or Leganes would join them next season in the second division Real Sociedad left it till late in their game with Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano, where the Colchoneros took the lead in the 30th minute on a goal by Koke Resurreccion. Adnan Januzaj equalized for the visitors with three minutes left in regulation to secure the point the San Sebastian club needed to nail down sixth place.

The draw was also good enough for Atleti to remain level on points with Sevilla, 1-0 winners Sunday over Valencia, and hang onto third place by virtue of a better goal difference than the southern side.

Granada aided their own cause by thrashing Athletic Bilbao 4-0, though they also got help from Levante, who held Getafe 1-0 in a game that saw four goals disallowed by VAR.

The results allowed Granada to leapfrog Getafe into the seventh spot on the table, which comes with an opportunity for the Europa League via the second qualifying round.

Left out of Europe were Getafe and Osasuna, who drew 2-2 Sunday with Mallorca, as well as Valencia, the biggest disappointment of the 2019-2020 LaLiga campaign.

In control of their own destiny, Celta Vigo could do no better than 0-0 against last-place Espanyol and the knowledge of what was happening in that game inspired Leganes to push for all 3 points against Real Madrid.

Sergio Ramos put the LaLiga winners ahead in the 9th minute, but Bryan Gil responded for Leganes in the first-half stoppage time. Marco Asensio restored the Blancos’ advantage seven minutes into the second.

This time, it was Roger Assale who brought Leganes level again, and his side swarmed the Real Madrid area in the final minutes in pursuit of the goal that would buy them another season in the top-flight of Spanish soccer.

Lionel Messi had a brace for Barcelona in a 5-0 rout of Alaves to clinch his seventh golden boot in LaLiga, while Villarreal bid farewell to two of its most storied players, Santi Cazorla and Bruno Soriano, with a resounding 4-0 victory over Eibar.

Valladolid capped off a fine season by beating Real Betis 2-0.

EFE jap/dr

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