MADRID ( Associated Press) – Real Betis finished their four-match winning streak with a 3-0 win over Valencia in the Spanish league on Tuesday to keep their Champions League qualification hopes alive next season.
It was a rematch of the Copa del Rey final won by Betis in a penalty shootout last month.
Willian Jose, Sergio Canales and Borja Iglesias scored a goal each in the second half to move Betis within three points of fourth-placed Atletico Madrid, who visit Elche on Wednesday. Betis is four points behind city rivals Sevilla, which host Mallorca’s relegation-off on Wednesday. There will be two rounds left after the end of the mid-week games.
Manuel Pellegrini’s Betis was at the top of the season but recently lost as it focused on the final leg of the Copa del Rey. It was coming off two losses and two draws in its last four league matches, including a 2–1 home loss against Barcelona after four minutes into stoppage time.
Betis last played in the Champions League in 2005–06, when it finished fourth in the Spanish League. It finished sixth in the league for two of the last four seasons, with its only title coming in 1934–35.
“While there is still a mathematical chance, we have to believe,” Pellegrini said. “We can only win our last two matches, although we know it will be difficult for the other teams to lose points.”
Second-placed Barcelona hosted Celta Vigo on Tuesday to secure second place and a berth in the Spanish Super Cup. The Catalan club are four points ahead of third-placed Sevilla.
Granada, two points from safety, tries to move further away from the relegation zone when it hosts eighth-placed Athletic Bilbao.