Sporting Gijon beat Villarreal 2-0 on Sunday to prevail in a gripping three-way battle to avoid relegation from La Liga as Getafe and Rayo Vallecano dropped into the second tier on the final day of the season.
Getafe ended a 12-year stint in the top flight after a 2-1 defeat at Real Betis, while fellow Madrid outfit Rayo Vallecano will also drop down a division despite beating Levante 3-1.
Sporting midfielder Jony Rodriguez put them ahead in the seventh minute with a stunning half-volley, and Sergio Alvarez clinched their top-flight status with a stinging shot from outside the area in the 79th.
Sporting finished in 17th place on 39 points, a point ahead of 18th place Rayo. Getafe finished 19th on 36. Rayo’s opponents Levante had been relegated two weeks previously and finish bottom on 32 points.
Getafe were the only team that had their destiny in their own hands, but visited a Real Betis side determined to end a difficult season on a high.
Betis went ahead in the 56th minute as defender German Pezzella headed into the top corner from a free kick.
A penalty from Ruben Castro in the 73rd sealed Betis’s victory and Getafe’s fate before substitute Emiliano Buendia was dismissed for the visitors, who pulled one back late on through Alvaro Medran.
Rayo needed to beat Levante and hope that neither Getafe nor Sporting won their respective games.
An impressive strike by Pablo Hernandez gave them the lead in the 12th minute and an effort from Roberto Trashorras that deflected in off Jozabed doubled their advantage in the 23rd.
Substitute Miku added a third after Levante midfielder Verza converted a penalty to make to 2-1.
Despite being relegated, Rayo were given a rousing reception by their supporters at the final whistle.
Rayo return to the second tier after winning promotion to La Liga in 2011, while Sporting, who were promoted on the final day of last season, will have another campaign in the top flight.