Valencia CF secured their fifth Primera División title and their first since 1971 with a 2-0 victory away to Málaga CF today.
With a four-point advantage over defending champions Real Madrid CF going into the penultimate round of matches, Valencia needed to win or equal Madrid's result to wrap up the title. However, Madrid could manage only a 0-0 draw at home to a RCD Mallorca side playing their first match under caretaker coach Tomeu Llompart.
Argentinian defender Roberto Ayala settled Valencia's nerves with a powerful header from a Vicente Rodríguez corner on 35 minutes and Fabio Aurelio made it 2-0 just before half-time. There was a furious row about the second goal, with referee Alfonso Perez Burrull at first ruling it offside. After a delay of eight minutes and several discussions with his assistant, he finally awarded the goal.
Six points clear
Valencia have 72 points, six points clear with a game to go after Madrid failed to deliver against Mallorca. "This is incredible," Ayala told Spanish radio station Onda Cero. "I even dreamed about scoring and now it's come true."
Madrid stay second
Madrid, on 66 points, stayed a point clear of third-placed RC Deportivo La Coruña, who won 3-0 at Real Betis Balompié with Diego Tristán scoring twice. Madrid and Deportivo are both now certain of top-four league finishes and places in at least the qualifying round of next year's UEFA Champions League.
Barcelona win derby
FC Barcelona moved back into fourth place as a 2-0 derby success against RCD Espanyol lifted them to 63 points, ahead of RC Celta de Vigo - on 60 points after a 2-1 home defeat by Sevilla FC - and Betis, who lie a point further back. Patrick Kluivert and Xavi Hernández scored Barça's goals, leaving them just needing to avoid defeat in their final league game to secure a place in the Champions League qualifying round.
That game is against Real Zaragoza, who were relegated after their 2-1 defeat at Villarreal CF. At the end of the match several players were involved in scuffles with supporters on the pitch. CD Tenerife maintained their faint hopes of survival with a 1-0 win at UD Las Palmas. Zaragoza are bottom with 36 points and the remaining relegation places will be taken by two out of Mallorca (38), Las Palmas (39) and Tenerife (40).
Elsewhere, John Aloisi's 90th-minute goal gave Club Atlético Osasuna a 1-1 draw at Athletic Club Bilbao while Rayo Vallecano overcame the second-minute dismissal of José Maria Quevedo to win 1-0 at Deportivo Alavés. Real Sociedad beat Real Valladolid 3-1.
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