Sports

Atletico and Sevilla battle for third in La Liga


Sevilla will secure Champions League qualification with a point against Atletico Madrid on Sunday while the winner would be in pole position to finish third in La Liga.

A third consecutive draw at home to Mallorca on Wednesday saw Sevilla miss out on the chance to seal their place in the top four but they still need only a draw from their last two games to be sure.

Atletico Madrid’s win away at Elche was enough to ensure Atleti will be playing in the Champions League next term, despite a turbulent season for last year’s Spanish champions.

Sevilla sit five points ahead of Real Betis and hold the superior head-to-head over their city rivals, so it would take a remarkable turnaround for their positions to be reversed.

But two wins from their last 10 games leave Sevilla needing a boost, with reports suggesting Julen Lopetegui may not continue as coach next season, after a hugely disappointing few weeks.

The fans at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan whistled when they failed to break down Mallorca in midweek.

“The fans being angry with the coach when they doesn’t win is logical,” said Lopetegui.

“I am obviously concerned that we have not won, but there are two games left and we have to fight for what we have fought for all season.”

Sevilla have been Real Madrid’s closest challengers for the majority of the campaign but they fell away in the title race and lost to Betis in the Copa del Rey before going out to West Ham in the Europa League.

It means Lopetegui’s team are ending the season with a whimper and defeat at the Wanda Metropolitano this weekend could create a nervy finish, if Betis beat struggling Granada at home.

– ‘Inconsistent’ Atletico –

Sevilla play at home to Athletic Bilbao on the last day while Betis are away at already-crowned champions Real Madrid, who have been resting players ahead of the Champions League final against Liverpool on May 28.

Atletico Madrid are away at Real Sociedad to finish and third is worth securing for Diego Simeone’s side, given positions towards the top of La Liga earn teams around seven million euros per place.

“It’s been an inconsistent season,” said Simeone on Wednesday night. “The goal of qualifying for the Champions League has been achieved, which is very important for the club.”





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