Athletic Bilbao out of Champions League race in Spain

The defeat left Athletic seven points behind fourth-placed Sevilla with two rounds to go.

Alaves defeated Bilbao by a goal to nil.   -  AFP

Athletic Bilbao’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League ended with a 1-0 loss at Alaves in the Spanish league on Sunday.

The defeat left Athletic seven points behind fourth-placed Sevilla with two rounds to go.

Sixth-placed Athletic is still in position to qualify for the Europa League, although it is level on points with seventh-placed Real Sociedad.

The teams in fifth and sixth places qualify for the second-tier European competition. Fifth-placed Villarreal, which lost at Barcelona on Saturday, is one point in front of Athletic and Real Sociedad. Villarreal still has an outside chance of overcoming Sevilla for the final Champions League spot.

“We will likely have to win the next two matches now to guarantee sixth place,” Athletic coach Ernesto Valverde said.

Theo Hernandez scored the winner for Alaves with a left-footed shot from just inside the area in the 53rd minute.

The result ended Athletic’s four-match winning streak.

It was the fifth game in a row without a loss for mid-table Alaves, which has already started turning its focus to the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona on May 27.


Deportivo La Coruna missed another chance to avoid relegation with the home loss to Espanyol.

A draw at home would have been enough, but Espanyol won with first—half goals by Leo Baptistao and Gerard Moreno. Deportivo’s goal was scored by Florin Andone just after halftime.

It was the fourth match in a row without a win for Deportivo, which is stuck on 32 points. That’s two more than 17th-placed Leganes and five more than 18th-placed Sporting Gijon, which is the first team inside the relegation zone. Leganes plays its 36th-round match on Monday against Real Betis.

Deportivo, the 2000 Spanish league champion, still needs at least a draw in one of its final two games to escape demotion for the first time since 2011.

Espanyol remained ninth in the standings.


Already relegated Osasuna conceded its 88th league goal, the most ever for a Spanish league club in more than six decades.

It conceded goals in all but two of its 36 league games this season.

It was the 23rd loss for the promoted club, which has won only three times in the league all season.

The result halted a four-game winless streak for Valencia, which is 13th in the 20-team standings.

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