MADRID (AP) — Real Betis missed a chance to move closer to the Champions League places after a 1-0 loss at home to Elche in the Spanish league on Tuesday.
The loss came in Betis' last match before the Copa del Rey final against Valencia on Saturday in Seville. Valencia also lost, falling 2-0 at Villarreal.
An 82nd-minute goal by Tete Morente ended Betis’ hopes of joining the group in the qualification zone for the Champions League. A win would have left Manuel Pellegrini’s team tied on points with second-place Barcelona, third-place Sevilla and fourth-place Atlético Madrid.
Instead, Betis stayed three points behind in fifth, and the distance to the top can increase after its challengers play this week. Atlético hosts relegation-threatened Granada on Wednesday, while on Thursday Sevilla visits second-to-last Levante and Barcelona is at sixth-place Real Sociedad.
Betis was unbeaten in six matches in all competitions, with its last loss coming against defending champion Atlético in the league last month.
Betis will play the Copa final hoping to win its first title in the competition — and third all-time — since 2005. Valencia lifted its eighth Copa in 2019.
It was the second league win in a row for Elche, which stayed 13th, nine points from safety with five games left.
Betis played the final minutes a man down after Paul Akouokou was sent off in stoppage time.
VILLARREAL MOVES UP
Valencia lost 2-0 at Villarreal, with Arnaut Danjuma scoring twice in the first half for the hosts.
The victory kept Unai Emery's Villarreal alive in the fight for a European qualification spot next season. It is in seventh place, three points from Sociedad and five points from Betis.
Villarreal's next match is at Liverpool in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals.
Valencia, winless in four consecutive league games, stayed 10th.
RELIEF FOR MALLORCA
Mallorca moved out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 win over last-place Alavés.
It was Mallorca’s second win in its last three matches. It had beaten Atlético two rounds ago before losing at Elche on Saturday.
Alavés had lost four in a row before defeating Rayo Vallecano last weekend.
Mallorca is in 16th place, three points outside the relegation zone with five rounds to go, while Alavés is six points from safety. It is tied on points with Levante.
Cádiz, which stunned Barcelona with a 1-0 win at the Camp Nou Stadium on Monday, is 17th, two points clear of the relegation zone.
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Tales Azzoni, The Associated Press