Madrid beat Getafe ahead of ECL semi-final second leg
Real Madrid's backups have squeezed past Getafe 1-0 as most of their frontline players were saved for next week's Champions League semi-final decider at Manchester City.
Marco Asensio scored the only goal of Saturday's Spanish league match in the 70th minute.
Madrid have for several weeks given up on defending the domestic title and instead focused on repeating as Champions League winners and conquering the Copa del Rey. Madrid and City will play the second leg poised at 1-1.
Barcelona can clinch the domestic title on Sunday if they win at crosstown rivals Espanyol. They needs only two of the remaining 15 points in play to win their first league since 2019, and their first major title since Lionel Messi left two seasons ago.
Prioritising the second leg at City, Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti started only four first-choice players in goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, Federico Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga and Éder Militão against relegation-threatened Getafe.
Camavinga exited the match in the final minutes limping, and team doctors looked at his left leg in the dugout. But Ancelotti said "it is only a knock" and he expects the versatile 20-year-old midfielder to be fine.
Karim Benzema, Rodrygo, and David Alaba were left off the squad to ensure they were fully recovered from minor fitness issues, according to Ancelotti. Vinícius Júnior, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos were used as second-half substitutes.
"Preparing for this type of game is not easy, but my players were professionals and showed a serious attitude," Ancelotti said.
Getafe, who were without suspended top scorer Enes Unal, held an honour guard before kickoff for Madrid winning the Copa del Rey last weekend. The team from a working-class Madrid neighborhood remain in 18th place.
After a dull first half, Ancelotti sent on some of his stars.
Courtois had to parry with one hand a powerful shot by Juan Iglesias in the 67th.
Moments later, Asensio broke the deadlock when his long-range shot took a slight deflection off a Getafe defender and beat David Soria.
Alejandro Baena and Nicolas Jackson both scored twice as Villarreal routed Athletic Bilbao 5-1, closing the gap with fourth-placed Real Sociedad after they were held by Girona at home to 2-2.
Villarreal trail Sociedad by five points with four games remaining as both vie to finish fourth and snatch the last Champions League berth.
Midfielder Baena and striker Jackson teamed up with winger Yéremy Pino to undo Bilbao, whose defender Aitor Paredes added an own goal. Baena opened the scoring by bending a free kick over the barrier.
Girona confirmed their status as the league's surprise package after yet another strong performance in San Sebastián.
The modest club from northeastern Catalonia, who played in the second division last year, are finishing the season as one of the league's hottest teams after losing just once in their last nine rounds.
Osasuna rebounded from last week's loss in the Copa del Rey final to Madrid by beating Almeria 3-1. Abde Ezzalzouli continued to impress by scoring Osasuna's second goal.