Sunday, April 21, 2019

Valencia ease relegation fears, Atletico held in derby

in La Liga 27 Apr 2008

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Valencia can breathe a little easier as caretaker coach Salvador 'Voro' Gonzalez guided the struggling giants closer to safety following a convincing 3-0 home win over Osasuna on Sunday.

Valencia are one of the biggest clubs in Spain, winning domestic titles in 2002 and 2004 under Rafa Benitez, but are fighting relegation after one win in 10 games under ex-coach Roland Koeman.

Koeman was sacked this week and the change worked with a David Villa penalty and further goals from Mata and Joaquin sealing three vital points as Valencia moved four points clear of the drop.

Racing Santander coach Marcelino is tipped to take over at Valencia next season and his team stay in the hunt for a Champions League spot despite a 3-1 loss at Real Mallorca.

Racing are two points off the final Champions League place after Atletico Madrid drew 1-1 at neighbours Getafe.

Getafe, conquerors of Real and Barca this season, went ahead through Juan Albin but Argentine Kun Aguero equalised for Atletico with his 17th goal of the season.

Atletico goalkeeper Leo Franco saved a late Ruben de la Red penalty as the capital side hold onto the final Champions League spot with four games left but Racing are just two points behind with Sevilla a further point back.

Elsewhere Levante became the first team to be relegated from the Spanish top-flight after a 2-0 defeat against Recreativo Huelva.

Levante players agreed to call off a strike over unpaid wages but they still fell to a defeat that seals their relegation.

Barring a miracle Real Murcia are set to join Levante in the second division with the club ten points from safety with just 12 left to play for.

Recreativo are now two points clear of the drop zone with Real Zaragoza currently occupying the final relegation spot after a 1-1 draw against Espanyol on Sunday.

Later Real Madrid have the chance to be crowned Spanish champions if they beat Athletic Bilbao at home and Villarreal fail to win at Real Betis.

Barcelona's 2-0 defeat at Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday means Real can retain their title this weekend and club president Ramon Calderon confirmed that plans have already been made to celebrate a 31st championship.

Real have been top for virtually the whole season under new German coach Bernd Schuster who is set to win the Primera Liga in his debut season.

“I know it is very probable but I will only think about it when it happens,” said Schuster.

“I'm convinced we'll win, but I don't care when or where. I would like it to be at home in front of our fans, but I'm not actually thinking about what it would be like.”

Villarreal are ten points behind Real in second and are keen to increase their points advantage over Barcelona to four.

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