Sevilla beats Alaves, moves closer to Champions League spot

MADRID (AP) — Sevilla got back into the fight for a Champions League spot with a 2-0 home win over Alaves in the Spanish league on Thursday.

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

Sevilla is sixth in the standings, tied on points with Valencia, which 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 was 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, which was 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 Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.

League leader Barcelona, which scored two late goals to earn a 4-4 draw at Villarreal on Tuesday, is eight points in front of second-place Atletico Madrid, which defeated Girona at home on Tuesday. Barcelona hosts Atletico on Saturday.