Atletico earns Champions League spot for 10th straight year

Matheus Cunha of Club Atletico de Madrid celebrates after scoring goal during the La Liga Santader match between Elche CF and Club Atletico de Madrid.


Atletico Madrid have secured a Champions League spot for the 10th straight season after defeating Elche 2-0 in the Spain's La Liga.

The victory moved Diego Simeone's team into third place, one point ahead of Sevilla, who earlier on Wednesday missed their own chance to guarantee a berth in Europe's top club competition next season after a scoreless home draw against relegation-threatened Mallorca.

Matheus Cunha and Rodrigo De Paul scored a goal in each half to leave Atletico six points in front of fifth-placed Real Betis with two rounds to go. Betis, who won 3-0 at Valencia on Tuesday, can't surpass Atletico for the final qualification spot because of their inferior head-to-head tiebreaker.

"This team also wants to be playing in the top competitions," De Paul said.

"We had an up-and-down season but to finish like this is important."

The victory left Atletico with a chance to catch Barcelona for second place and a place in the lucrative Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia. Barcelona, who defeated Celta Vigo 3-1 at home on Tuesday, are five points in front of Atletico going into the last two games of the season.

Sevilla again missed a chance to secure their Champions League spot at home.

Julen Lopetegui's team were held to a 0-0 draw by Mallorca and have now won only two of their last 10 matches in all competitions.

Mallorca remain in the relegation zone, two points behind Cadiz and safety.

Alaves left last place and moved within four points of exiting the drop zone with a 2-1 win over 13th-placed Espanyol while Getafe earned a 1-1 draw at mid-table Osasuna to move within a point of securing their permanence in the first division.

Real Madrid clinched their record-extending 35th league title in advance and host last-place Levante on Thursday.

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