Football: Atletico and Valencia secure Champions League berths

Granada's forward Ruben Rochina (left) vies with Atletico Madrid's midfielder Raul Garcia on May 23, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP 
Granada's forward Ruben Rochina (left) vies with Atletico Madrid's midfielder Raul Garcia on May 23, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP 

MADRID (REUTERS) – Atletico Madrid secured a berth in the Champions League group stage for next season and Deportivo La Coruna narrowly escaped relegation when they came from two goals down to draw 2-2 at champions Barcelona on the final day of La Liga on Saturday.

Atletico made sure of third place thanks to a 0-0 draw at Granada, while Valencia twice had to come from behind to beat Almeria, who were relegated, 3-2 and clinch fourth and a spot in qualifying for Europe’s elite club competition.

Sevilla, Europa League holders and finalists again this season, won 3-2 at Malaga to finish fifth, sending them into the continent’s second-tier competition again next season along with sixth-placed Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao in seventh.

Bilbao, who are through to next Saturday’s King’s Cup final to play Barca, ended the campaign with a flourish by thrashing Villarreal 4-0 at the San Mames.

Sevilla face Ukraine’s Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the Europa League final in Warsaw next week when victory would earn them a place in the Champions League group stage along with Barcelona, second-placed Real Madrid, who host Getafe later on Saturday, and Atletico.

Depor’s comeback against a second-string Barca, who wrapped up their fifth title in seven years last weekend, sent Eibar back down after one season in the top flight despite the Basque’s club’s 3-0 win at already relegated Cordoba.

It also put a slight dampener on an emotional final La Liga appearance for Barca captain Xavi, who hoisted the trophy after the match at a festive Camp Nou.

The former Spain international, 35, announced on Thursday he was leaving the club after 17 seasons and 23 trophies to join Qatari side Al Sadd.