The La Liga action for 2012 is now over, and it ended with speculation over the future of Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho, after a troubling weekend for the Special one.
On Sunday evening Real Madrid traveled to Malaga, with their opponents fresh of the news they will be banned from Europe next season for unpaid debts. Around an hour before kick off the baffling news broke that Iker Casillas, the club captain, had been dropped to the bench. This was the first time in ten years the goalkeeper failed to make the starting XI due to a technical decision..
The match got underway with the away side in control, but at half time it was 0-0, due to Ronaldo producing a good save from Willy Caballero, before missing an open goal. The second half was a different story as Malaga took control, and the recently crowned Golden Boy of 2012, Isco gave the home side the lead.
The goal seemed to shell shock Real, but they got back level after Sergio Sanchez put the ball in his own net. Manuel Pellegrini then made a substitution that changed the game, as he brought off Javier Saviola, and brought on Roque Santa Cruz. The Paraguayan scored two quick fire goals to give Malaga a 3-1 lead, before Karim Benzema pulled back a consilation, with the game ending 3-2.
This means the Champions end the year 16 points behind Barcelona, and only two ahead of fourth placed Malaga, although unless UEFA changes its decision, Malaga finishing in Europe would be meaningless.
Barcelona recorded a routine 3-1 win away to Valladolid, as Xavi opened the scoring, before Lionel Messi scored a wonderful goal to end his year with an astonishing 91 goals. Valladolid pulled one back through Javi Guerra in the 89th minute, but there was still time for substitute Cristian Tello to wrap up the victory.
Barcelona were led by Jordi Roura, with Tito Vilanova released from hospital after surgery, and i wish him all the best in his recovery.
Atletico Madrid kept up the chase in 2nd, but were made to work hard for a 1-0 victory over Celta Vigo, with substitute Adrian scoring the only goal late on.
The shock of the weekend was struggling Mallorca earning their first win in 12 games, with a 2-1 victory over fifth placed Real Betis. Despite the home side taking the lead early through Benat, Mallorca equalised through Victor, before being awarded a penalty, which Javi Marquez stroked home to lift the islanders out of the drop zone.
Elsewhere at the bottom, it was 19th against 20th as Espanyol hosted Deportivo la Coruna on Thursday, and despite the away side dominating it was Espanyol who triumphed 2-0 with goals from Simao, and Stuani.
Granada pushed Osasuna into the drop zone after coming back from a goal down to beat them 2-1. Nino had given the home side the lead, but Diego Mainz, and Dani Benitez turned the game on its head with two goals, to lift Granada up to 15th.
In the Mestalla fans saw three goals in the opening 15 minutes, as Valencia recorded a 4-2 victory over Getafe, while the misery continued for Sevilla as they fell 2-1 away to Real Sociedad.
Surprise package Rayo Vallecano romped to a 3-0 home win over Levante, while all the action ended at San Mames with Zaragoza shocking Athletic Bilbao 2-0 thanks to goals from Apono, and Postiga.
The year ends with Deportivo, Espanyol, and Osasuna all in the drop zone, while the title is all but wrapped up for Barcelona, with the real question being, will Jose Mourinho survive until the end of the season?
Player of the week- Willy Caballero
The goalkeeper produced an absolutely world class save in the first half to deny Ronaldo from a free kick, before Malaga went on to win 3-2.
Goal of the week- Ignacio Martinez
The young defender made his first start of the season for Rayo Vallecano and he capped it by rifling in an effort from 30 yards, a brilliant goal.