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Soccer-Valladolid down after intense LaLiga relegation battle, Barca lose to Celta

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VIGO, Spain (Reuters) -Real Valladolid were relegated from LaLiga on the final day of the season on Sunday, while champions Barcelona ended their campaign with a 2-1 defeat at strugglers Celta Vigo.

Six anxious teams went into the final weekend hoping to avoid the drop, with five breathing sighs of relief when Ronaldo-owned Valladolid’s 0-0 draw at home to Getafe ensured they finished 18th, ending their season-long LaLiga stay.

“A hard night, a very hard night, which with the passing of time will give way to renewed hope for the start of next season…,” Valladolid said in a statement.

“Now it is time to lick the wounds, to apologise to the fans who have been up to the task and to work hard to lay the foundations for the next promotion.”

At the Balaidos in Vigo, hosts Celta, who were battling the drop, took the lead in the 42nd minute when Gabri Veiga squeezed past defenders Marcos Alonso and Andreas Christensen with a burst of pace and slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

Spurred on by a desire to rubber-stamp their safety, Celta took control of the game, launching wave after wave of attacks on Barca’s backline before Veiga scored again with a cross that sailed fortuitously into the net in the 65th minute.

Barca made a raft of substitutions in the second half, with one of those changes, Ansu Fati, scoring in the 79th minute, but Celta held on for the victory and ended in 13th spot, snapping a six-game winless run in the league.

“We all deserve this together, so much joy,” goalscorer Veiga told DAZN.

“It’s true my level dropped a little recently, but I was able to hit a very high level with the help of my team mates tonight, with all the people around me. We were able to come out and get the win.”

Almeria narrowly escaped relegation, twice going behind to already-relegated Espanyol and dropping below Valladolid in the standings before an 87th-minute penalty from Adri Embarba earned a 3-3 draw to move them up to 41 points – one more than Valladolid.

Valencia, who were under threat of going down for the first time since they were promoted to the Spanish top-flight in 1987, survived after a 1-1 draw with Real Betis.

“We have achieved it with a lot of hard work, but I am not entirely happy, because this season, since the World Cup break, has been disastrous, lamentable,” Valencia captain Jose Gaya told Movistar.

“I feel very bad for the people … because they don’t deserve everything we have suffered. And we have also suffered and thanks to their drive we have achieved it. Hopefully this will be useful for the following years, because we have played with fire.”

Cadiz also drew 1-1 at bottom club Elche.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Nashik, India; Editing by Ken Ferris and Pritha Sarkar)

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