La Liga Match Day 38 Review – Valencia pip Getafe to 4th, Espanyol in Europe!

Getafe take on Villarreal

Match Day 37 saw Girona slip to the very brink of relegation and a host of teams secure their survival. There would be no final weekend miracle for the Catalans and they will join Huesca and Rayo Vallecano in the second tier next term. The main focus on the final match-day in La Liga this season was on the race for Europe though with Valencia, Getafe and Sevilla battling for Champions League qualification while Espanyol and Real Sociedad targeted 7th place and Europa League football in their clash.

Here was the best of the action on the final match-day in the 2018/19 Spanish Primera Division:


La Liga Match Day 38 Results, Expected Goals & Highlights

Saturday 18th May 2019

Levante 2-2 Atletico Madrid (xG 2.75-1.77)

Sevilla 2-0 Athletic Club (xG 1.75-0.65)

Real Valladolid 0-2 Valencia (xG 0.76-1.58)

Getafe 2-2 Villarreal (xG 2.34-0.73)

Espanyol 2-0 Real Sociedad (xG 1.06-0.32)

Huesca 2-1 Leganes (xG 1.3-0.92)

Celta Vigo 2-2 Rayo Vallecano (xG 1.86-1.33)

Alaves 2-1 Girona (xG 1.08-1.05)

Sunday 19th May 2019

Real Madrid 0-2 Real Betis (xG 0.84-1.72)

Eibar 2-2 Barcelona (xG 1.7-1.11)

Links lead to Youtube highlights via the official LaLiga channel and may contain ads.

xG data via Understat


Valencia Win the Battle for 4th

The main issue to be decided on the final weekend was that of Spain’s 4th Champions League participant for the 2019/20 season. Despite having rarely occupied 4th place this season, Valencia went into the final day in pole position. Getafe struck the first blow though with Francisco Portillo’s close-range finish briefly moving them above Los Che in the live table. Valencia only needed to win at Valladolid though and they ultimately did that with relative ease as goals from Carlos Soler and Rodrigo either side of the break sealed victory.

Since the turn of the year, Valencia have been comfortably one of the best four teams in Spain and of the hopefuls, they were certainly the side best equipped to go and compete with the European elite. Getafe will be a bit disappointed to have ultimately fallen at the final hurdle but it has still been a brilliant season for the South Madrid club who will be in the Europa League group stages next season.

Espanyol sneak into Europe with Final Day Win

Geta will be joined in the Europa League by Sevilla who won their final game against Athletic Club. That was a significant result as it ensured Sevilla would be spared an early start in Europe for the second season running. They go straight into the group stages this time around with Espanyol the team who will be in European action in July. The Catalan outfit beat Real Sociedad 2-0 at the RCDE Stadium on Saturday with Roberto Rosales and Wu Lei netting in the 2nd Half to seal a return to continental action for Rubi’s side. The result also means that Athletic miss out on Europe despite a wonderful turnaround under Gaizka Garitano.

No Goodbye for Bale as Setien bows out with a Win

It was a bitter end to a miserable season for Real Madrid as they suffered a 2-0 home defeat against Real Betis. Gareth Bale was drafted into the squad for this one but didn’t make it off the bench in what many expect to be his final game for the club. His relationship with Zinedine Zidane appears to be virtually non-existent.

There was a sweeter goodbye for Quique Setien though as Betis put in an excellent performance with Loren Moron and Jesé scoring the goals in the 2nd Half. Betis announced Setien’s departure soon afterwards, widely expected with the Betis crowd having turned angrily against their coach over the past few months.

Read more – Where did it all go wrong for Girona?


Match Day 38 in Numbers

  • Real Betis became the first visiting team in 16 years to win at Camp Nou and the Bernabeu in the same season.
  • Leo Messi scored his 35th and 36th goals of the season to finish 15 clear of his closest rival to claim the Pichichi.
  • Jan Oblak won the Zamora Trophy for the 4th season running with only 27 goals conceded, still the most he has let in over that period.
  • Real Madrid lost their 12th league game of the season, their joint worst showing since 1973-74 when they lost 13.
  • 18 year old Sergio Camello scored just 34 minutes into his Atletico Madrid debut at Levante.

Up Next…

The summer break is now upon us and while some players in La Liga will be in Copa America and Africa Cup of Nations action, most will now be off on their holidays with the 2019/20 season not due to start until 16th August. There is still the small matter of the Copa del Rey Final to come with Barcelona and Valencia meeting in Seville next weekend.

Lower down, the race for promotion to top flight still has a long way to go but Osasuna look set to seal their return to the Primera Division this week with Albacete and Granada in the mix to join them. With the Segunda B play-offs also set to get going, there’s still plenty to keep Spanish football junkies occupied over the next month or so.

Check out our Spanish football blog for analysis and opinion on events off the pitch over the summer.


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Article via Mark Sochon – Contact: marksochon(at)hotmail.co.uk | @marksoc1 on Twitter

Spanish football writer
About Mark Sochon 1538 Articles
Mark is a freelance writer based in Madrid. He has also lived in Seville and Barcelona and has written extensively about Spanish football. His work has been published by the likes of Guardian Sport & World Soccer.