Rayo Vallecano’s 1-0 win over Real Madrid in Vallecas sparked epic scenes in the crowd at full time, as they beat their city rivals in La Liga for the first time 22 years.
However, more importantly, it gives Paco Jemez’s side a real chance of staying in the top flight – with the confidence that result can give.
The Mexican boss was clear post-match that defeat to Zinedine Zidane’s side would have meant an immediate return to the Segunda – but this win will give hope.
The message from Jemez and his players at full time was clear, they would be fighting for everything in the final three games, but they will need luck and results going their way elsewhere.
Their end of season games all come against sides around them in the table, with trips to Celta Vigo and Levante, either side of a home game with Real Valladolid.
Whilst Rayo realistically need nine points from all three games, they can take motivation from the fact they have beaten all three of those sides this season.
If Rayo can only amass six or seven points they could be handed an alternate route to safety, as head to head record outranks goal difference in La Liga.
The permutations will be looked over by Jemez, but in reality, he will want to keep their fate in their own hands, and see if other sides take points from each other.
Levante face fellow relegation battlers Girona in Catalonia, and Atletico Madrid on the last day, so they are unlikely pick to up many points in the next three weeks.
This could allow Rayo to leapfrog them, and Real Valladolid – who also face Europa League chasers Athletic Bilbao and Valencia.
Top scorer Raul de Tomas returns this weekend, after Real Madrid refused to amend the parent club eligibility clause in his loan deal, and he will be the man that decides their fate.
With 14 La Liga goals in 2018-19 he has generally stepped up whe Rayo have needed him this season – with key goals against Levante and Barcelona already in the 2018-19 campaign.
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