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Rediff.com  » Sports » Atletico beat Celta, make Champions League return

Atletico beat Celta, make Champions League return

May 09, 2013 12:30 IST

Atletico Madrid made sure of at least a third-placed finish in La Liga and secured a berth in the Champions League group stages for next season with a 3-1 win away to struggling Celta Vigo on Wednesday.

Diego Costa, Juanfran and Radamel Falcao netted in the second half to put the 2010 and 2012 Europa League winners back in Europe's elite club competition for the first time in three years.

Atletico climbed on to 72 points with three games left to play, 14 points ahead of fourth-placed Real Sociedad, who have a game in hand.

The match had been rearranged due Atletico's participation in the King's Cup final against Real Madrid which is scheduled for Friday May 17.

Second-placed Real, with 77 points, were hosting Malaga later on Wednesday when anything less than a victory would hand leaders Barcelona (88 points) the title.

Brazilian striker Costa broke the deadlock in Vigo in the 47th minute, diving to head home after a well-worked near-post corner move was flicked on by Miranda.

Full back Juanfran's long-range shot was deflected past Javi Varas in the 66th , but Celta threatened a comeback when Augusto Fernandez's shot squirmed beneath Thibaut Courtois in the 84th.

Colombia striker Falcao made sure of the win lashing a shot high into the net four minutes from time, to take his tally for the season to 27.

Celta are running out of time to avoid a swift return to the second division as they lie 19th with 31 points, two short of safety, but having played a game more than their relegation rivals.

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