Valencia vs. Granada  1 - 0

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La Liga Wrap: Valencia in box seat for Champions League

27 May 2013 01:07

Roberto Soldado has taken Valencia above Real Sociedad into La Liga's Champions League places with a 1-0 win over Granada.

Soldado's header on the hour-mark gave Valencia a crucial win at home, which took them into fourth spot on the Spanish league table with 65 points, above Sociedad (63 points), who needed a second-half stoppage time equaliser to draw 3-3 against Real Madrid.

Sunday's results leave Valencia in the box seat to claim La Liga's berth in the qualifying stages of next season's Champions League ahead of the final round of games, while at the bottom of the table, Celta de Vigo won 2-0 away to Real Valladolid to move within one point of safety.

In Valencia, the home side dominated 16th-placed Granada, controlling possession for 65 percent of the match, while the visitors did not manage a shot on target.

But the hosts had to wait until the 60th minute to finally beat Granada's goalkeeper Roberto with Joao Pereira's driven cross to the near post neatly headed into the net by an unmarked Soldado.

In San Sebastian, Sociedad came from behind twice to secure a draw against second-placed Real Madrid with attacking midfielder Xabi Prieto leading the way for the hosts.

The visitors from the capital hit the front in the sixth minute through Gonzalo Higuain and doubled their lead 11 minutes into the second half following Jose Callejon's goal.

Sociedad struck twice to draw level at 2-2 thanks to a penalty from Prieto and Antoine Griezmann's equaliser but Real Madrid moved ahead again in the 80th minute when Sami Khedira chipped Claudio Bravo.

But Prieto clinched a point for Sociedad to keep them within striking distance of fourth spot when he bundled the ball home at the back post from Imanol Agirretxe's cross in the 93rd minute.

In the relegation battle, Celta moved above Real Zaragoza into 18th position, one point and one spot away from safety.

Gustavo Cabral and Iago Aspas gave Celta victory in Valladolid, while Zaragoza were thumped 4-0 by Real Betis.

Bottom club Mallorca claimed a scoreless draw away to Atletico Madrid to also stay alive, while 17th-placed Deportivo La Coruna lost 3-1 to Malaga.

Those results mean any three of the bottom four clubs could be relegated on the final day with Deportivo (35 points, minus 22 goal difference) ahead of Celta (34, minus 16), Zaragoza (34, minus 23) and Mallorca (33, minus 31).

In other La Liga results, Rayo Vallecano won their Madrid derby 2-1 against Getafe, Barcelona also had derby success with a 2-0 win over Espanyol, Osasuna defeated Sevilla 2-1 and Levante knocked off Athletic Bilbao 1-0.

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La Liga Preview: Pressure on for Euro spots

24 May 2013 10:54

With the title well and truly decided in La Liga and two matchdays to play, all eyes are on the European race and the relegation battle.

Starting at the top, Real Sociedad have it all to do them to sustain fourth position and the UEFA Champions League qualifying position as they prepare to host Real Madrid.

Sociedad are fourth, level on points with fifth-placed Valencia and need to win to guarantee their spot as front-runners for the European play-off place

Valencia, meanwhile, are at home to 15th-placed Granada, who are yet to sew up their top-flight position for 2013-14.

Ernesto Valverde's men should still do it comfortably, though, as Granada's La Liga status can be guaranteed by losses to either Deportivo La Coruna or Real Zaragoza on Sunday.

Deportivo are on the road at Malaga, with the latter still hoping to secure UEFA Europa League qualification for next term.

Manuel Pellegrini's side will be hoping to welcome their new manager with a place in European competition, after it was announced Pellegrini would not coach there next term.

Malaga (54 points) are two points clear in sixth, with Real Betis (52) and Rayo Vallecano (49) still in the hunt for a slice of continental action.

Betis host relegation-threatened Zaragoza - with both clubs needing wins to boost their hopes of playing in the UEFA Europa League and La Liga respectively next term.

Vallecano are all but out of the top-six race, but should Malaga slip up, they can stay alive by beating Getafe on the road.

Getafe are 10th after losing five of their past six to fall out of European contention.

Champions Barcelona visit Espanyol, who have not won in four and the Catalans can reach the magical 100-point mark with wins in their final two matches.

Osasuna could yet be relegated as they sit just two points above the drop ahead of their match with ninth-placed Sevilla.

Real Valladolid can relegate struggling Celta de Vigo should the latter fail to win, while a similar fate awaits Mallorca if they do not manage get a result on the road at third-placed Atletico Madrid.

Finally, Athletic Bilbao can extend their five-game unbeaten run at home to Levante, who have not won in seven.

Primera División table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +75 100
2 38 +61 85
3 38 +34 76
4 38 +21 66
5 38 +13 65
6 38 +3 57
7 38 +1 56
8 38 -16 53
9 38 +4 50
10 38 -14 47
11 38 -17 46
12 38 -21 45
13 38 -9 44
14 38 -9 43
15 38 -17 42
16 38 -17 39
17 38 -15 37
18 38 -29 36
19 38 -23 35
20 38 -25 34