RC Deportivo La Coruña claimed second place in the final Primera División table at the expense of UEFA Champions League finalists Real Madrid CF tonight.
Champions League place
Deportivo's 3-0 victory at the Municipal de Riazor stadium lifted them above Madrid and secured them automatic qualification for next season's Champions League. Madrid will have to negotiate the third qualifying round in August, should they fail to win next week's final against Bayer 04 Leverkusen in Glasgow.
Vicente del Bosque's side fell behind to a brilliant long-range strike from Roy Makaay in first-half injury-time and, as they chased the game after the break, Fran González and Walter Pandiani completed victory for Deportivo. The result means Deportivo finish the season with 68 points from 38 matches, two clear of Madrid.
Valerón the architect
Madrid were without several key players, including Luis Figo, Fernando Hierro and Raul González, for their final league outing. The home side created a string of chances, as Juan Carlos Valerón was given time and space to direct the Depor midfield. Javier Irureta's side finally made the breakthrough in the second minute of added time. Valerón was the architect, supplying a quick pass for Makaay as he broke forward on the right. The Dutch forward took one touch before lifting the ball over César Sánchez with a perfect right-foot strike.
Fran makes it two
The second goal came on 73 minutes when Fran jinked in from the left touchline, played a simple one-two with Valerón and slotted past the Madrid keeper. Pandiani made it three in the closing seconds when he was left unmarked to tap in a cross from the right.
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