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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football briefs: Atletico finish second in La Liga; Bale leads Real rout

Football briefs: Atletico finish second in La Liga; Bale leads Real rout

May 13, 2018 11:47 IST

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale scores

IMAGE: Gareth Bale scores Real Madrid's first goal against Celta Vigo at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

Atletico Madrid clinched second spot in La Liga and ensured they will finish above Real Madrid for the first time in four years after winning 1-0 at Getafe on Saturday as Villarreal sealed an automatic Europa League spot by beating Deportivo La Coruna 4-2.

Real Betis drew an exciting local derby with Sevilla 2-2 to a Europa League place and they will finish above their city rivals for the first time in five seasons, although the point assured Sevilla of seventh spot and a playoff berth for Europe's secondary competition.

Gareth Bale scored two fine goals in what could be his last appearance at the Santiago Bernabeu as Real Madrid thumped Celta Vigo 6-0 in their last home game of the season.

Atletico are second in the standings on 78 points, three ahead of Real Madrid with one game left and Atletico's superior head-to-head record means they finish above their neighbours for the first time since winning the title in 2014.

Villarreal are fifth on 60, Betis sixth on 60 and Sevilla seventh on 55, three above Getafe and with a better head-to-head record than the Madrid side.

Champions Barcelona, on 90 points, visit Levante on Sunday.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone fielded a full-strength team against neighbours Getafe despite having to play the Europa League final against Olympique de Marseille next Wednesday and his side took the lead in the eighth minute when midfielder Koke arrowed the ball into the bottom corner.

Getafe were awarded a penalty late in the second half but Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak guessed right and beat away Moroccan midfielder Faycal Fajr's spot-kick to preserve the visiting side's lead.

The Slovenian made another good save in stoppage-time, tipping a header over the crossbar to ensuring Getafe missed out on seventh place to Sevilla, denying them a return to Europe for the first time in a decade.

Bale struck the first goal of Real's thrashing of Celta with a surging run forward and low finish.

The Wales forward doubled his side's lead by cutting inside near the corner flag and sending a sweeping finish into the far corner.

Strikes from Isco, Achraf Hakimi, Toni Kroos, an own goal by Celta defender Sergi Gomez completed the drubbing for Real, who were without Cristiano Ronaldo due to an ankle injury and rested captain Sergio Ramos ahead of the Champions League final against Liverpool on May 26.

Betis took the lead at home to fierce rivals Sevilla when defender Marc Bartra headed home from a free kick but the visiting side, who beat Real Madrid 3-2 on Wednesday, turned things around after the break with goals from Wissam ben Yedder and Simon Kjaer.

Betis striker Loren bundled the ball in soon after Kjaer's strike to ensure his side will not have to play three playoff rounds to get into the Europa League.

Villarreal raced into a 3-0 lead in the first half at relegated Deportivo but it was cut by two goals before Russia international Denis Cheryshev struck in stoppage-time to give them a 4-2 win.

Man United assistant manager Faria to leave at end of season

 Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and assistant manager Rui Faria.

IMAGE: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and assistant manager Rui Faria. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Manchester United assistant manager Rui Faria will leave Old Trafford at the end of the season, the Premier League club said on Saturday.

British media reported that the 42-year-old Faria is on Arsenal’s shortlist to replace Arsene Wenger, who will leave the north London club after almost 22 years in charge.

Portuguese Faria has worked with United manager Jose Mourinho since 2001 and they have won 25 trophies together with six clubs.

“After a lot of consideration, and with a very heavy heart, I have decided the time is right for me to move on," Faria told United's website.

“I have had 17 years of incredible and unforgettable experiences. However, I have felt for some time that I would like to spend much more quality time with my family before pursuing any new challenge in my professional life."

Mourinho paid tribute to his long-time partner.

"The intelligent student is now a football expert, ready for a successful career as a manager," he said.

"17 years… in Leiria, Porto, London, Milan, Madrid, London again and Manchester. Training, playing, travelling, studying, laughing and also a few tears of happiness. Seventeen years and the kid is now a man."

Mourinho said he would miss his friend.

"That is the hardest thing for me but his happiness is more important and, of course, I respect his decision. Be happy, brother," he said.

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