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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Leganés ends Real Madrid’s perfect run but can’t avoid relegation

Real Madrid ended its Spanish league title-winning campaign with a 2-2 draw that relegated Leganés after four straight seasons in the first division.

By: AP | July 20, 2020 12:05:02 pm
Real Madrid, Real Madrid LaLiga, LaLiga, Spanish football league Real Madrid’s head coach Zinedine Zidane, center left, talks with Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio. (AP Photo)

Real Madrid ended its Spanish league title-winning campaign with a 2-2 draw that relegated Leganés after four straight seasons in the first division.

The result also ended Madrid’s 10-game winning streak following the pandemic break. Zinedine Zidane’s team had sealed its record 34th league title — and first in three years — on Thursday.

“We didn’t play at our best, but we can’t forget what we have already achieved,” Zidane said. “We have to be happy.”

Madrid ended five points ahead of second-place Barcelona — 87 to 82. Barcelona closed out its campaign with a 5-0 rout of Alavés. Lionel Messi scored twice to finish with 25 goals and become the first player to clinch the league’s top scoring title in seven different seasons.

Leganés, led by Mexican coach Javier Aguirre, had entered the match one point behind Celta Vigo, the first team outside the relegation zone. Celta, winless in the final seven rounds, survived despite being held 0-0 by last-place Espanyol. It will play in the top flight for a ninth straight year next season.

Espanyol and second-to-last-place Mallorca had already been relegated.

“This is what happens when it gets right to the end. We reached the last round having to play against a great team, against the champions,” Leganés captain Unai Bustinza said, unable to hold back tears. “Hopefully this will at last serve as an example that you can’t give up and that you have to keep fighting until the end.”

Sergio Ramos opened the scoring for Madrid with a header in the ninth minute for his sixth goal since the league resumed. Leganés equalized with Bryan Gil’s goal in first-half stoppage time before Marco Asensio gave Madrid the lead again from close range in the 52nd.

Roger Assalé equalized again with a shot from inside the area in the 78th but the hosts were not able to find the winner despite some good chances near the end. They wanted a penalty for a hand ball inside the area in the final minutes but video review let the game continue.

Leganés was unbeaten in the last five rounds, with three wins and two draws. The team from southern Madrid last played in the second division in 2015-16.

Madrid played without some regular starters and others were substituted early in the second half.

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