Madrid, May 2 (IANS) The race for the La Liga football title remained unaltered as the top three all won their respective matches in the 36th round of games in Spain this weekend. Villarreal won 2-0 away to Valencia on Sunday to assure the fourth spot and a secured place in next season’s Champions League.
Leaders FC Barcelona were again below their best, but second half goals from Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic kept Barcelona ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid on goal difference, reports Xinhua.
Villarreal won 2-0 away to Valencia on Sunday to assure their place in next season’s Champions League in a derby they controlled for the 90 minutes.
Coach Marcelino Garcia made changes from the side which won 1-0 at home to Liverpool in the Europa League earlier in the week, but saw how first half goals from Samu Castellejo and Adrian Lopez gave them a comfortable win at the Mestalla Stadium.
Athletic Club Bilbao moved into fifth place after coming back from a goal down to defeat Celta Vigo 2-1 thanks to goals from Aritz Aduriz and Raul Garcia on Sunday.
Fabian Orellana opened the scoring for an impressive Celta in the 13th minute, but the game changed in the last seven minutes of the first half as Aduriz equalised after being brought down by Gustavo Cabral.
Cabral was then sent off for flicking his boot at Aduriz’s head when he was on the ground and Celta had to play all of the second half with a man less and Garcia exploited that with a close range finish 18 minutes from time.
Felipe Caicedo’s second half goal gave Espanyol a 1-0 win at home to Sevilla, who have their sights firmly focused on the Europa League and have failed to win away all season.
Also on Sunday, Getafe also won 2-0 away to Deportivo la Coruna with goals from Pedro Leon and Vigaray to keep their hopes of survival alive and keep their rivals in the battle to avoiding relegation.
Elsewhere Granada came back from 2-0 down to claim a vital 3-2 win at home to Las Palmas thanks to goals from Ruben Rochina, El Arabi and Ricardo Costa.
At the top of the standings the statusquo remained the same with leaders Barcelona winning 2-0 against Real Betis on Saturday to remain ahead on goal difference.
Second-placed Atletico Madrid beat Rayo Vallecano 1-0 on Saturday to keep up the pressure on Barcelona while third-placed Real Madrid also won, beating Real Sociedad 1-0.