Deportivo La Coruna 0-2 Real Madrid: Ronaldo's two-goal performance all for naught

The Portuguese striker's first half brace against Deportivo proved to be inconsequential, as Barcelona lifted the La Liga title on the final matchday.

Deportivo La Coruna 0-2 Real Madrid: Ronaldo's two-goal performance all for naught
Real Madrid did their job on the final day, but it was all for naught. Credit: Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images
Deportivo La Coruna
0 2
Real Madrid
Deportivo La Coruna: Pletikosa; Pablo, Arribas (Rober, min.71), Sidnei, Navarro; Cartabia, Mosquera (Borges, min.76), Bergantinos, Fajr (Riera, min.76); Lucas, Luis Alberto.
Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos (Isco, min.61); Bale (Jese, min.76), Benzema, Ronaldo (Rodriguez, min.46).
SCORE: 0-1, min. 7, Ronaldo. 0-2, min. 25, Ronaldo.
REFEREE: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz (ESP). Admonished Kroos (min. 50), Mosquera (min. 57), Ramos (min. 86), Marcelo (min. 90), and Modric (min. 90).
INCIDENTS: La Liga match between Deportivo La Coruna and Real Madrid on Matchday 38. The match was played at Estadio Municipal de Riazor.

Real Madrid can't be faulted for going out and doing their job on the final matchday of La Liga, but in the end, their effort against Deportivo La Coruña was a wasted one. 

Deportivo had a chance to play spoiler to Madrid's title hopes, in the same way that Levante ended Atlético Madrid's season, but they were never in the match, and it was evident from the start that Real were going to cruise to victory.

Deportivo's focus will be on how to improve on their 13th place finish next season, but they can hardly pose a threat at the top as long as Real, Atlético, and Barcelona all play in the same league.

The first half was all Ronaldo

Heading into the match, there were only two scenarios in which Real Madrid could win the La Liga title – a win and a Barcelona loss, or a win and a Barcelona draw. Knowing this, Madrid stormed right out of the gate hunting for a goal. While their fans in the stands could find out the score of the Barcelona game, the players had no way of knowing, so they had to treat the match as if a win would deliver them the title.

After a fast start to the game, Real got a goal when Cristiano Ronaldo latched onto the end of a Karim Benzema pass in the seventh minute. That put the pressure on the Catalans, as Madrid briefly took the lead in the table.

The goal was big not just for Real’s title race but in the race for the Pichichi – La Liga’s leading scorer. Heading into the final matchday, Ronaldo was trailing Luis Suárez by four goals at the top, and this pulled him back within three. But unless Ronaldo scored five and Suarez was held scoreless, the Pichichi was the Uruguayan’s to lose.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates the opening goal | Photo: Miguel Riopa/Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates the opening goal. | Photo: Miguel Riopa/Getty Images

On a corner was when Ronaldo added his second of the match. Even though it took a deflection off of a Deportivo defender, his header was going towards goal anyway, so he was credited with the brace. Ronaldo had his best chance to hit a first half hat-trick in the 30th minute, but he beat everything but the post.

Barcelona rendered their result moot

The only trouble for Real Madrid was that Suárez matched Ronaldo's performance every step of the way. On a day where they could clinch the league title, Suárez stepped up to match Ronaldo’s first half brace and give his team a comfortable 2-0 lead. He would later add a hat-trick goal in the second half. If the team found out about Barca's result at half-time, it had to be disconcerting. As long as Barca had a lead, their game would be meaningless.

That's why Ronaldo was taken off at half-time, with Barca's title win seemingly in the bag, and to keep him rested for the Champions League final.

The La Liga trophy was Barcelona's to lose, as all they had to do to win the title was not drop points to Granada. A brief dry spell, which started with an El Clasico loss to Real Madrid back in April, made the La Liga race interesting, but once Barca snapped back into form, few doubted that they would pull it off in the end.

The win gives Barcelona their sixth La Liga title in the past eight years, and they will have a chance to secure a double when they take on Sevilla in the Copa Del Rey Final.

Too little, too late

In the end, all Real Madrid fans can do is wonder what could've been. They were a much improved team under Zinedine Zidane's guidance, and had Rafa Benitez not dug the team into a hole during the first half of the season, they might have been the ones lifting the trophy on the final day. Then again, perhaps they should never have sacked Carlo Ancelotti in the first place.

What Madrid fans can look forward to is a Champions League final date with their local rivals Atlético Madrid, as well as a bright future under the guidance of their club legend. It might be as soon as next season that Real will finally win their first league title since 2011.