May 5, 2018 / 6:32 PM / 20 days ago

Betis defeat ensures Champions League qualification for Valencia

MADRID (Reuters) - Valencia’s place in next season’s Champions League was confirmed when fifth-placed Real Betis were defeated 2-0 by Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on Saturday.

Valencia, who have not played in Europe’s premier club competition since 2015, are now assured of a top-four finish and will qualify for the group-stage draw along with champions Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.

A late Mario Gaspar strike allowed sixth-placed Villarreal to beat Valencia 1-0 but the day’s earlier result meant that did not have any bearing on Valencia securing the Champions League spot.

Villarreal sit just two points behind Betis on 57 having played a game less.

Second-half strikes from Iker Muniain and Artiz Aduriz helped Athletic to move up to 13th on 43 points, while Betis remain in fifth with 59, eight behind Valencia.

Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; Editing by Clare Fallon and Pritha Sarkar

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