Super Eagles duo Kenneth Omeruo and Chidozie Awaziem endured a crushing end to the LaLiga season as Leganes got relegated to the second tier on Sunday.
Leganes had been in relegation trouble for much of the season but went into their final day encounter against champions Real Madrid with faint but realistic hopes of staying up.
A win for Javier Aguirre’s men against the champions would have seen them avoid the drop provided 17th-place Celta Vigo who were a point above them failed to beat Espanyol.
Real might have been crowned champions three days ago but Los Blancos didn’t seem to have been affected by their celebrations nor were they in any mood for giveaways as they sought to maintain their one hundred per cent record since the restart.
Leganes’ hopes of staging a miraculous escape appeared ever more daunting when Real captain Sergio Ramos put Zinedine Zidane’s side ahead with his 11th goal of the campaign after just nine minutes.
Bryan Gil restored parity on the stroke of halftime to maintain their hopes of staying up as Celta were being held at already relegated Espanyol.
Marco Asensio’s 52nd-minute strike to put Real 2-1 up meaning Leganes stood relegated as things stood but Los Pepineros fought back to level matters through Roger Assale with twelve minutes left.
It was all Leganes as Los Pepineros fought for their topflight lives and they thought they’d gotten a lifeline after a handball in the Real box but their calls for a penalty were dismissed by to VAR.
Undaunted, they pressed Real in search of the equaliser and came within a hair’s breadth of nicking the win and completing a miraculous escape but Oscar Rodriguez could only fire over the bar when well placed inside the box in added time.
It was the last kick of the game as the final whistle sounded and although they succeeded in being the only team to take points from Real since the restart, that proved hollow consolation as their ouster from the topflight was confirmed.
Celta stay up after ending it goalless at Espanyol who join Mallorca in dropping down to the second-tier.
Eagles duo Omeruo and Awaziem were unused subs for Leaganes and must now start evaluating their futures.
Omeruo made 23 appearances for Leganes in LaLiga having joined permanently from Chelsea last summer following a successful loan in the preceding season.
Awaziem who made 26 League appearance will return to parent club Porto but will likely be on the move again this summer after failing to tie down a regular berth in Portugal.
Meanwhile, Nigerian international Ramon Azeez ended the season in style as his Granada walloped Athletic Bilbao 3-0 to seal qualification for the Europa League.
However, it proved to be a sad ending for Ogehenekaro Etebo’s Getafe who fell out of the European places following a 1-0 loss at Levante.
Granada, Real Sociedad, Valencia and Getafe were in a four-way race for the last two Europa League places behind Samuel Chukwueze’s 5th-placed Villarreal who had already sealed their place and ended the season in style with a 4-0 whitewash of Eibar in the early kickoff.
Valencia and Getafe lost at Sevilla and Levante respectively to put paid to their hopes.
Granada were on course to finish sixth but dropped down a spot after Real Sociedad fought back from a goal down to snatch a late draw at Atletico Madrid.
Both sides finished level on points but Sociedad’s superior goals difference meant they nick sixth-place but more importantly, both sides qualify for the Europa League.
For Getafe, it was a heartbreaking end to what had promised to be a record-breaking season as they were in the hunt for a Champions League spot for most of the season and then looked nailed on to seal Europa League qualification only to lose out on European football entirely on the final day.
However, Etebo and his teammates still have a chance to seal a place in Europe next season through the Europa League where they face Inter Milan in a straight knockout Round of 16 tie next month.