The battle for the 2016-17 Liga Santander continued without changes at the top of the table as both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid won their respective matches in matchday 36 of the season.
Real Madrid remain second but still have the advantage with a game in hand following an easy win away to a Granada side that was already condemned to second division football before kickoff.
Saturday’s game was virtually over as a contest as soon as the 11th minute as two goals from James Rodriguez put Real Madrid’s ‘Plan-B’ 2-0 ahead and two more goals from Alvaro Morata assured the win before halftime.
With the game in the bag Madrid then limited themselves to saving energy ahead of next week’s Champions League semi-final return leg away to Atletico Madrid.
Barcelona had to work harder, but eventually their striking trio of Leo Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar led them to what in the end was a comfortable 4-1 win against Villarreal.
The ‘MSN’ have now scored 102 goals between the three of them this season; the third consecutive year they have passed the 100 goals mark.
Saturday saw Neymar open the scoring following a deflected Messi shot after 21 minutes and although Cedric Bakambu equalized soon afterwards, a deflected Messi shot on the stroke of halftime restored Barca’s lead and further goals from the striker and Suarez sealed the win that for the moment keeps Barca on top of the table.
Atletico Madrid are just a point off assuring they finish the season in third place as they capitalized on Sevilla’s 1-1 draw at home to Real Sociedad on Friday night with a hard-fought, but deserved 1-0 win at home to Eibar.
As always Eibar posed problems for the Atletico attack, but cheered on in their penultimate league game in the Vicente Calderon Stadium, the home side applied the pressure and were rewarded when Saul Niguez scored the only goal of the game in the 69th minute with a fine curling shot.
Athletic Club Bilbao missed a chance to move into fifth place as their four-game winning run came to an end away to Alaves. Athletic wasted a host of chances and paid the price when Theo Hernandez scored a stunning volley in the 53rd minute.
Sporting Gijon got a vital lifeline thanks to a Carlos Carmona goal which game them a 1-0 win at home to Las Palmas, a result which may or may not be significant depending on what Leganes are able to do at home to Betis on Monday night.
Deportivo la Coruna remain in the relegation mix after a 2-1 home defeat to Espanyol, who led 2-0 at halftime thanks to goals from Leo Baptistao and Gerard Moreno.
Meanwhile Valencia, whose coach Voro Gonzalez confirmed on Saturday he would not continue in the dugout next season, enjoyed an easy 4-1 win at home to already relegated Osasuna and Malaga defeated Celta Vigo, who rested key players, 3-0 with goals from Recio, Javi Ontiveros and Sandro Ramirez.