Football: Betis defeat ensures Champions League qualification for Valencia

Valencia's Italian forward Simone Zaza (centre) celebrates with team mates after scoring. PHOTO: AFP

MADRID (REUTERS) - Valencia's place in next season's Champions League was confirmed when fifth-placed Real Betis were defeated 2-0 by Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on Saturday (May 5).

Valencia, who have not played in Europe's premier club competition since 2015, are now assured of a top-four finish and will qualify for the group-stage draw along with champions Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.

Valencia were playing at coach Marcelino's former club Villarreal later on Saturday.

Second-half strikes from Iker Muniain and Artiz Aduriz helped Athletic to move up to 13th on 43 points, while Betis remain in fifth with 59, eight behind Valencia and having played a game more.

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