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Immediate Reaction: Real Madrid 2-1 Villarreal

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A victory, but a league title defeat...

Real Madrid v Villarreal CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid 2-1 Villarreal (Benzema & Modrić). The league is done. Here is the reaction to the final game. On the way: The player ratings, interview highlights and the post game podcast.


The final day of the league season is upon us. The title can still make its way to either side of Madrid, but results in the Real Valladolid - Atlético Madrid game would need to swing in Real Madrid’s favour. Los Blancos would also need to ensure they record a win themselves against a strong Villarreal side looking to win some silverware of their own in the near future. The starting line-up was appropriately strong, with in-form Castilla left-back Miguel Gutiérrez keeping his place in defence. The bench was also replenished with reserve midfielder Antonio Blanco, and captain Sergio Ramos returning alongside him.

The general play throughout the first half was stagnant and boring, but an early goal for Valladolid against Atlético made at least the stakes interesting. If that score-line remained the same and Real could grab a winner, then the league would be coming home to Valdebebas. This dream quickly faded when Pino touched the ball down and poked it past Thibaut Courtois to put Villarreal 1-0 up. The play remained slow, but Madrid did create chances through Luka Modrić, Casemiro and Karim Benzema in the knowledge that it remained 1-0 where it mattered elsewhere. Despite these chances, Villarreal managed to keep themselves ahead at half time, setting up a final 45 minute showdown for the league title.

The pace of Madrid’s play did improve from the very start, with the home side realising what could be achieved come full time. Benzema appeared to level the scores with his head, but after a lengthy review - the goal was correctly disallowed for offside. The news that Atlético Madrid had equalised then came seeping through. This still meant that Real Madrid could win the league with a victory here, but one more from their city rivals would take it out of their hands. Karim came close again after a mistake but could only shoot wide... Atlético then went 2-1 up, making in a real mountain to climb in any glory was to be had this season. Marcelo, Isco and Mariano Díaz were brought on to try and swing things the home side’s way, and the team managed to pull one back late on through Benzema. The Frenchman lifted the ball over the keeper inside the area, but by this time little hope would have been restored. Even when Luka Modrić scored the winner, it was too late for a miracle. Real Madrid won the game, but Atlético Madrid won the league. 2-1 the final score.