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Levante and Betis the big winners in jornada 31

The relegation race seems almost over.

Morales, Levante’s star against Las Palmas (shown here against Real Madrid, of course)
Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

A wild weekend in Spanish football. Celta 4-0 Sevilla?? La Real 5-0 Girona?? And, sadly, Villarreal 1-3 Athletic Club. All these were great stories, but the real winners on the weekend were Levante and Betis.

Levante defeated Las Palmas with an injury-time goal in a match that could have gone either way. Paco Lopez might not have been able to get our B team over the promotion hump, but he’s getting the best out of the froggies, at least in the short term fight against relegation. Malaga are certainly down, Las Palmas and Depor likely. Levante host Malaga on April 19th and a win there would give them 34 points and the tiebreak against those beneath them.

It’s still mathematically possible for someone—probably Las Palmas, who have an easy schedule compared to Depor—to overtake Levante, but it sure isn’t looking likely.

Real Betis continue their fine run of late, Sergio Leon notching his 11th goal of the season in their 2-0 win over Eibar, who haven’t won in their last five (since defeating us).

And Valencia have moved into third place for now after one of those old-fashioned 1-0 gutsy wins, this time over Espanyol. Keep in mind that under the new CL format, the top four automatically make the group stage (no playoff), but finishing third (or even second—they easily could) rather than fourth brings you a greater share of the TV money, both in the CL and in La Liga. Los Che look to have four easy wins in their last seven, with away matches at Barca, Celta and Villarreal (we hope) looking to provide the most challenge. Particularly if Atleti end up in the CL semifinals, their attention may wander...and they have a very small squad.