Atletico Madrid secured qualification for the Champions League on Wednesday as a 2-0 victory away at Elche assured their place in La Liga’s prime 4.
Matheus Cunha and Rodrigo De Paul have been each on track as Atletico pulled six factors away from Real Betis in fifth, with two video games left to play. Atletico even have the superior head-to-head report over Betis.
Sevilla, although, failed to ensure of their top-four spot because the crew’s poor finish to the season had earlier continued with a goalless draw at residence to struggling Mallorca.
Atletico look seemingly now to complete third and though the protection of their league title has been vastly disappointing – they’re 14 factors behind Real Madrid – Diego Simeone’s facet have at the very least averted lacking out on the Champions League, which for some time appeared a really actual chance.
“I’m happy for the players,” stated Simeone. “It’s been an up and down season, with a Champions League once we competed very effectively and a La Liga the place we have not been capable of preserve our consistency.
“It’s not what we imagined however now we have achieved the target – the Champions League for one more 12 months, which is essential for the membership.”
In December, Atletico lost four league games in a row for the first time ever under Simeone, before defeat by Levante, who sat bottom of the table, prompted crisis talks between coach and players in February.
But five consecutive victories in March proved crucial and while there has been another dip in recent weeks, Atletico have done just enough to seal Champions League qualification for a 10th consecutive year.
Cunha turns home
Cunha gave Atleti the lead in the 28th minute as Antoine Griezmann picked out Renan Lodi’s run down the left and Cunha was in the right place to divert in the cross to the near post.
The visitors made it two shortly after the hour, De Paul finishing off a superb move after a slick exchange with Lodi, who had again broken through the Elche defense.
Atletico play at home on Sunday to Sevilla, whose stalemate against Mallorca at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan should only delay their qualification given they sit five points clear of Betis, with two games left to play.
Sevilla will need only one more point to guarantee they finish ahead of Betis, as they also have the better head-to-head with their city rivals.
But Julen Lopetegui’s side do have two tricky last games, with Sunday’s trip to the Wanda Metropolitano coming before a final match at home to Athletic Bilbao.
And even if they get over the line, Sevilla are ending what was once a promising campaign with a whimper, after just three wins now in their last 12 in all competitions.
There were whistles from the home fans while Mallorca were hardly satisfied with a draw either. They stay 18th, two points adrift of safety, with Cadiz ahead of them playing a game in hand away at Real Sociedad on Thursday.
Sevilla had the better chances overall but Mallorca were far from overwhelmed and could have taken the lead on the break when Vedat Muriqi’s header had to be clawed away by Bono.
Anthony Martial went close for Sevilla in the second half but his best chance came in injury-time as Youssef En-Nesyri connected well with a header, only for Mallorca goalkeeper Manolo Reina to make an excellent save.