Madrid keep the pressure on Barça

Barça can nearly taste victory, but Real Madrid are going to push them right until the final day of the season. Both sides won, albeit with varying degrees of comfort, while Atlético, who succumbed to fatigue, dropped out of the race against Levante. Levante had nothing to play for, just as Depor and Granada won’t have anything on the line next Saturday when they host Madrid and Barça, but as we witnessed that in itself doesn’t mean anything. For one reason or another, Levante put in a heartfelt performance, as should always be the case, and were convincing as they overcame Atlético, who looked worn out following their two epic battles against Bayern. This was as far as Atlético were able to take it. This far and Milan. A fantastic season, despite the light being blown out on their LaLiga campaign yesterday.

Barça saw out their game without any problems. They’re a far better side than Espanyol, which they made abundantly clear with a thumping 5-0 win. Things were more complicated at the Bernabéu, as Madrid just about edged a victory with the help of a dubious Benzema goal. Madrid are also weary, even though they’ve expended less energy during their European exploits. Valencia ran the show during the second half and Casilla was simply splendid between the sticks. More than anyone else, it was he who ensured the title chase will go right down to the wire. Madrid closed out the evening in party mood: the fans bid farewell to Arbeloa and the possibility of scooping two important titles still exists.

Celta, Depor and Granada were the real winners of the day. Celta jumped into fifth, while Depor and Granada no longer need to worry about the drop. Rayo fought for their lives at Anoeta, while Getafe and Sporting battled it out at the Coliseum. All three teams head into the final day with the risk of relegation looming large. Rayo play hosts to Levante, however, their destiny is not entirely in their own hands. Paco’s men need to win, and hope that their rivals draw or lose at the same time. Getafe travel to Betis, while Sporting are away to Villarreal. A great final day awaits, charged with excitement and a healthy dollop of emotion, as the grand master Juan Carlos Valerón is set to make his final curtain call.