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Atletico move closer to securing Champions League spot with win over Celta Vigo

Rodrigo De Paul Atletico Madrid Rodrigo De Paul - Getty Images

MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid moved closer to securing the fourth and final Champions League spot with a 1-0 win over Celta Vigo in the Spanish league on Sunday.

Rodrigo De Paul scored an 84th-minute winner for Atletico, which opened an eight-point gap to fifth-place Athletic Bilbao with three rounds remaining. Athletic was held at home to a 2-2 draw with Osasuna on Saturday.

“You know me, we have to keep improving until the end,” Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said. “We have to keep fighting no matter what.”

It was the third win in a row for Atletico, which is three points behind third-place Barcelona. The Catalan club hosts seventh-place Real Sociedad on Monday.

Celta, which has lost three of its last five games, dropped to 17th place and five points above the relegation zone. Rayo Vallecano moved to 16th, also five points from danger, after a 0-0 draw at eighth-place Valencia.


Real Betis beat last-place Almeria 3-2 at home to move to sixth place and strengthen its hold on the European qualifying spots.

Pablo Fornals, Isco and Ayoze Pérez scored for Betis, which has won four of its last five matches.

Almeria was coming off only its second win of the season in the league, at Rayo Vallecano.


Cadiz, sitting in 18th place, kept alive its hopes of escaping demotion with a 1-0 win against midtable Getafe.

Rubén Alcaraz scored the winner for the hosts by converting a 35th-minute penalty kick.

It was Cadiz's first win after a run of three losses and a draw.


Real Madrid, which clinched its 36th league title last weekend, won 4-0 at Granada on Saturday. The Spanish powerhouse celebrated on Sunday by parading through the city.

The celebrations did not take place last weekend because Madrid played Bayern Munich on Wednesday in the second leg of the Champions League semifinals. Madrid advanced to its second Champions League final in three seasons.


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