Valencia held again in Spanish league, ties Celta Vigo 1-1
MADRID (AP) — Valencia’s struggles to clinch a Champions League spot continued in a 1-1 draw at Celta Vigo in the Spanish league on Saturday.
It was the third straight match without a victory for Valencia, allowing fifth-place Real Betis to continue to move closer in the fight for the final spot for Europe’s top club competition.
Betis, which has won six in a row, can get within eight points of Valencia if it wins at second-place Atletico Madrid on Sunday. Betis was 16 points behind Valencia three rounds ago. There will be four rounds left after this weekend.
“We want to guarantee our Champions League spot as soon as possible, but today, unfortunately, we couldn’t get more than a point,” Valencia forward Santi Mina said. “We will try to get it done in the next round.”
Valencia hasn’t played in the Champions League in two years, while Betis’ only appearance was in 2005-06.
The draw also hurt Valencia’s chance in the fight for second place with Real Madrid and Atletico. It is two points behind Madrid and five behind Atletico. Real Madrid’s match at Sevilla was postponed because Sevilla played Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday.
Valencia played better then Celta at Balaidos Stadium in Vigo, being held back by a strong performance by Celta goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez.
Mina put Valencia ahead with a shot from inside the area in the 59th, but the hosts equalized four minutes later with a header by Maxi Gomez. Mina, a former Celta player, didn’t celebrate in respect to the fans at Balaidos.
“Sometimes you are superior and create many chances but you don’t capitalize on them. We were unlucky today,” Valencia coach Marcelino Garcia Toral said. “Sergio was the best player in the match.”
The home draw also hurt Celta’s chances of earning a Europa League spot.
Barcelona has a 12-point lead over Atletico. It can win its 25th La Liga title with a win at Deportivo La Coruna on April 29.
GETAFE WINS AGAIN
Getafe defeated Eibar 1-0 for a third straight victory, and stayed in contention for a Europa League spot next season.
Mathias Olivera scored with a header midway through the first half to put Getafe within three points of sixth-place Villarreal, which holds the final automatic spot for the second-tiered competition.
Seventh place may also be enough for a Europa League spot if Barcelona — which is already secured in the Champions League — defeats Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final, opening up an extra berth from the Spanish league.
Eibar has won only one of its last eight matches.
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