Valencia secure Champions League football after Betis loss

Real Betis' hopes of a top-four spot in LaLiga ended with a 2-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao, securing Champions League football for Valencia.

Valencia celebrating   -  Getty Images

Valencia's return to the Champions League for the first time since 2015-16 was confirmed by Real Betis' 2-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao.

Betis were still in with an outside chance of getting into Europe's elite competition before Saturday's matches, but two goals in the final 14 minutes at San Mames means the best Quique Setien's side can manage is a fifth-place finish.

Valencia can consequently go into their derby against Villarreal in a relaxed mood as they look to put third-place Real Madrid – who are four points ahead of them but with a game in hand – under pressure.

Valencia's return to the Champions League will surprise few given their impressive season, having initially looked like a potential challenger to Barcelona in the first half of the campaign.

And although they have tailed off slightly since the turn of the year, particularly in recent weeks having failed to win any of their last four, Marcelino's side have been one of the most entertaining in LaLiga this term.

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