(Reuters) – Valencia took control of the battle for the final Champions League qualifying place in La Liga by beating visitors Alaves 3-1 to climb above Getafe into fourth place on Sunday.
Getafe’s 2-0 defeat at Barcelona on Sunday means Valencia are level with them on 58 points and one game to go but have a better head-to-head record against the Madrid outfit.
Marcelino’s side, who endured a painful Europa League semi-final defeat by Arsenal on Thursday, made a slow start in front of a nervous Mestalla crowd and fell behind early on when Ximo Navarro took advantage of some slack marking to head home.
Valencia struggled to create chances but were gifted an equaliser when Carlos Soler raced onto a loose ball and found the net on the half hour after visiting defender Ruben Duarte’s attempted header back to goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco fell short.
Three minutes later the hosts were in front when Santi Mina headed in Dani Parejo’s corner before strike partner Kevin Gameiro scored with a back-post header 20 minutes from time.
Valencia travel to Real Valladolid in the final round of the season next Saturday, while Getafe host Villarreal.
Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; editing by Ken FerrisOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.