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* Las Palmas took a step closer to La Primera by edging past Real Valladolid in their Liga Adelante playoff semi-final. The Canary Islands side drew 0-0 at home after tying 1-1 away, advancing on away goals to the final.Valladolid had a night to forget in the second leg, missing a penalty and having two men sent off.

 

In the other semi, Girona looked odds-on after winning 3-0 at Real Zaragoza in the first leg.

 

But Zaragoza made a miraculous comeback by winning 4-1 at Girona to go through to the final on away goals.

 

Girona must be feeling cursed. They missed out on automatic promotion after Lugo scored an injury time equaliser in their final league match, then must have felt they had made the final comfortably with a 3-0 away win against the team which had finished sixth.

 

With an apparent mountain to climb, Zaragoza however were 3-0 up at half-time in the second leg and went ahead in the 68th minute, leaving Girona needing two Agen Dominoqq goals. They got one but no more and finished shellshocked, eliminated after such an emphatic first leg victory.

 

2,000 Zaragoza fans greeted their returning heroes at the railway station.

 

Crestfallen coach Pablo Machin of Girona told the press,

 

“This is incredibly hard to take. I don’t know what we have done to football for such a magnificent season have such a macabre ending.”

 

The overall winners of the two-legged final will join Real Betis and Sporting Gijon in the top flight next season.

 

* La Liga President Javier Tebas does not mince his words. Asked about the FIFA scandal, he replied, “What the Americans did was like the Normandy landings.” Speaking of the importance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano …