August 26, 2019
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Atleti clinch 2nd in LaLiga; Valencia gain in battle for Champions berths

Madrid, May 12 (efe-epa).- Atletico Madrid drew 1-1 with Sevilla here Sunday to secure a second-place finish in LaLiga behind winners Barcelona, while Valencia dominated Alaves 3-1 to gain a leg up in the scramble for the final Champions League spot.

At the other end of the table, 18th-place Girona fell 2-1 at home to Levante, who assured their continuance in the top flight for another season.

To stay up, Girona would need to win their final match next week with at least five goals, while counting on 17th-place Celta to lose.

Celta lost 3-1 Sunday to Athletic Club, but still lead Girona by three points and have a goal difference of -9, compared with -15 for the Catalan club.

Two other clubs in the relegation picture achieved safety on Sunday. Real Valladolid won 2-1 away to 19th-place Rayo Vallecano and Villarreal beat visiting Eibar 1-0.

Sevilla, who started the day in 6th, failed to show the urgency that would be expected of a team desperately in need of points to qualify for the Champions League.

The Colchoneros were far the better side at the Wanda Metropolitano on an evening that included a tribute to the departing Diego Godin.

Atleti took the lead in the 30th minute courtesy of Koke Resurreccion, but Pablo Sarabia scored with 20 minutes left to win a point for Sevilla.

Valencia, now in 4th place, can control their own destiny after defeating Alaves as 5th-place Getafe were losing 2-0 to Barcelona.

The hosts, whose other possible path to the Champions League was blocked last week with their loss to Arsenal in a Europa League semifinal, fell behind to Alaves in the 12th minute on Ximo Navarro's goal, but rebounded to lead 2-1 at half-time on markers by Carlos Soler (m.29) and Santi Mina (m.34).

Kevin Gameiro added a third goal early in the second half.

At Camp Nou, a Barcelona side still smarting from losing a Champions League semifinal to Liverpool did enough to prevail against Getafe.

Arturo Vidal, with his first goal in six months, put Barça up 1-0 in the 39th minute, and a Lionel Messi effort turned into an own goal by Mauro Arrambari in the 89th to leave Getafe's Champions League ambitions depending on what happens next week when Valencia visit Valladolid.

For 3rd-place Real Madrid, the only encouraging note on Sunday came from youngster Brahim Diaz, who scored his first goal for the club in a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Real Sociedad.

Diaz gave the Blancos the lead in the 6th minute, only for Sociedad to pull level 20 minutes later on a goal by Mikel Marino.

Thibaut Courtois denied Sociedad's Willian Jose from the spot in the 38th minute, but the foul that led to the penalty saw Real Madrid's Jesus Vallego sent off, forcing the visitors to play more than half of the contest with 10 men.

Sociedad made the most of their numerical advantage, getting goals from Joseba Zaldua (m.57) and Ander Barrenetxea (m.67) to preserve the possibility of taking 7th place and qualifying for Europa League play next season.

But Sociedad's chances will depend on Athletic Club, who are 3 points ahead after beating Celta 3-1 Sunday on Raul Garcia's brace and a goal by Iñaki Williams.

And Espanyol, sitting 9th, likewise remain in the Europa League hunt. They are level on points with Sociedad by virtue of a 2-0 away triumph over Leganes.

Joaquin Sanchez scored twice - including a winner in the 98th minute - to lead Real Betis 2-1 over relegated Huesca, yet fans disappointed with the Seville club's mid-table performance this season continued to clamor for the ouster of coach Quique Setien.

EFE

jap/dr

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