Sat, Apr 06, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Sevilla beat Alaves to keep hopes alive for European berth

AP, MADRID

Sevilla on Thursday got back into the fight for a UEFA Champions League spot with a 2-0 home win over Deportivo Alaves in La Liga.

Roque Mesa and Pablo Sarabia scored a goal in each half to help Sevilla move within a point of fourth-placed Getafe in the final qualification position for next season’s Champions League.

Sevilla are sixth in the standings, tied on points with Valencia, who defeated Real Madrid 2-1 at home on Wednesday.

Alaves dropped to seventh place, two points behind Sevilla. The Basque Country club has been near the top of the standings during most of the season and were as high as second at one point.

“The main goal was to escape relegation and we did that well in advance,” Alaves defender Victor Laguardia said. “Now we will keep fighting for as long as we can to try to finish as high as possible and make it to a European competition.”

It was the third win in four league matches for Sevilla, who were coming off a home loss to Valencia.

“It was very important to win again and stay in the fight for fourth place,” Sarabia said. “We were not expecting to lose against Valencia. It’s going to be a tough fight until the end.”

Sarabia set up Mesa’s goal from inside the area in the 41st minute and sealed the victory in a breakaway in the 80th at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

League leaders Barcelona, who scored two late goals to earn a 4-4 draw at Villarreal on Tuesday, are eight points in front of second-placed Atletico Madrid, who defeated Girona at home on Tuesday.

Real Valladolid on Thursday conceded six minutes into second-half injury time in a 1-0 defeat at CD Leganes, staying one point above the relegation zone.

Leganes, who are 12th, were awarded a penalty early in the second half, but the decision was reversed after a video review.

Real Sociedad ended a five-game winless streak by defeating Real Betis Balompie 2-1 with an 83rd-minute winner by Mikel Oyarzabal, leapfrogging Betis into ninth place.

SERIE A

AFP, MILAN, Italy

Atalanta BC on Thursday blitzed Bologna with four goals in the opening 15 minutes to move to within one point of AC Milan and the final UEFA Champions League berth with a 4-1 Serie A win at home.

However, the side from Bergamo, Italy, will be without top scorer Duvan Zapata for their clash tomorrow against third-placed Inter after the Colombian picked up a yellow card.

Josip Ilicic claimed a brace within the first five minutes, with the Slovenian then crossing for Hans Hateboer to slot in the third after nine minutes.

The hosts continued to pile on the pressure, with Zapata adding a fourth after 15 minutes for his 20th Serie A goal this season.

The Colombian had a goal disallowed after using his arm to control an Ilicic free-kick into the net, for which he received a yellow card.

“I was about to substitute Zapata and just waiting for the ball to go out of play when he received that yellow card,” coach Gian Piero Gasparini said. “He’ll miss Inter, which is unfortunate.”

It was too soon to talk of qualifying for the Champions League, Gasparini said.

“We’re happy just to get back into Europe, maybe even through the Coppa Italia, which is also an important target for us,” he said. “We”ll see what happens. It doesn’t hurt to dream.”

“To talk about the Champions League we will need a few more weeks,” he added.

Riccardo Orsolini pulled a goal back for Bologna after 54 minutes as they return to the relegation zone.

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