‘Walking dead’ of Cádiz and Mallorca rise up to send Granada into abyss | Sid Lowe

A macabre final day in La Liga ended with a Hitchcock-style twist and horror for the most unlikely relegation candidates “Hitchcock could have written this,” Sergio González said when it was all over. Cádiz’s coach was shattered, soaking wet and could hardly walk, T-shirt muddy and back gone, but he’d do it all over again. Even the bit where, liberated at last, he threw himself through the rain and on to the grass at the feet of his players and their fans. Especially that bit: this was a team picture they had desperately wanted to take, the photo of a first division side. It had hurt, the man who hid his fears from those he led struggling to get up again and limping away, the season taking everything from all of them, but they’ll be back. Having dragged themselves from relegation 1,000km from home, salvation was delivered on the final day in Vitoria.Vitoria, Pamplona and Granada. “We were playing three games in one,” Sergio said. The smallest thing is everything sometimes, football as cruel as it is brilliant. A penalty given and taken away on 86 minutes, a post on 92, a spot-kick missed by the man who least deserved to miss it, everything still on edge to the very last whistle: at the end of week 38, in which three clubs’ destinies were intertwined, the team who had it hardest, the only side whose fate wasn’t in their own hands, had survived. So had the team whose manager admitted they were “liquidated” a fortnight ago, the “walking dead”, handed an unlikely lifeline in the n92nd minute of the penultimate week. As for the team best placed to stay up – an 85% chance of survival, the stats said, and that sold them short – they had gone down. In short, Cádiz and Mallorca will be in primera next year; Granada, European quarter-finalists last season, will not.