Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid beat Deportivo La Coruna but Barcelona’s win over Granada means second place.
Ronaldo netted inside the first 10 minutes to put the pressure on Barca, who went into the final round of the season a point clear of Los Blancos at the top of the table.
He claimed a second before the half-hour but Madrid’s title challenge was dependent on Granada getting a result against the Catalans at Los Carmenes, a Luis Suarez double easing Luis Enrique’s side to a second straight Primera success.
Madrid had the BBC of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo back for the first time in almost a month while Victor Sanchez recalled veterans Stipe Pletikosa, Fernando Navarro and Manuel Pablo, who was possibly playing his last game after a career of great service to Depor.
Deportivo barely got out of their half before Madrid went in front through Ronaldo, sweeping in at the far post after Bale skinned Manuel Pablo and pulled back for Benzema, whose scuffed shot fell kindly for the Portuguese’s 50th goal of the season in all competitions.
A dangerous Toni Kroos corner went without a decisive touch but there was a scare when Ronaldo was left hobbling after losing out to Alejandro Arribas, and, perhaps with May 28’s Champions League Final in mind, he was replaced at half time.
Ronaldo stayed on long enough to meet another Kroos corner, the set-piece seeing Arribas collide with Bale’s and stay down as the ball crept past Pletikosa.
The goalkeeper was then left standing after Ronaldo breached the offside trap, met a long pass from Pepe with a killer first touch and poked the ball towards goal, only for the post to prevent the hat-trick, and a Ronaldo had an effort shortly after flash against the crossbar.
Fede Cartabria kept Keylor Navas alert with a whipped shot on his left foot after cutting inside, Deportivo coming more into the game as the first half came to a close, but never really threatening the visitors’ supremacy.
Lucas Perez called Navas into action after a neat exchange and Depor carried more threat in the first 15 minutes of the second half than the entire 45 of the first.
Madrid, without Ronaldo, didn’t have the same level of potency, and their season now is about Atletico Madrid in Milan and the chance of an 11th European Cup.
Navas produced a reaction save to prevent Rober halving the deficit when Madrid’s marking at a Deportivo corner fell apart, the kind of moment that Diego Simeone will relish seeing when thinking about the showpiece at the end of the month.
James Rodriguez was played in by Benzema and denied by Pletikosa, though the assistant referee’s flag also went up, wrongly, before Isco met a looping cross with a header that skidded past the post.
Marcelo danced through the Depor defence couldn’t beat Pletikosa either and James rifled a shot across goal as Madrid’s title challenge ended in Galicia, despite the late season surge that pulled Barca from 10 points clear to just one.
Deportivo La Coruna 0-2 Real Madrid
Ronaldo 7, 25
Deportivo La Coruna: Pletikosa; Manuel Pablo, Arribas (Rober 70), Sidnei, Navarro; Bergantinos, Mosquera (Borges 75); Cartabia, Fajr (Riera 75), Luis Alberto; Lucas Perez
Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos (Isco 60), Modric; Bale (Jese 75), Benzema, Ronaldo (James 46)
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz