x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Valencia seal Champions League spot as Ronaldo equals record

The Madrid striker takes tally to 38 with a brace and equal the league record for most goals in a season while Valencia take third place.

MADRID // Valencia ensured third place and an automatic berth in next season's Champions League when they drew 0-0 at home to city neighbours Levante and nearest rivals Villarreal lost 3-1 at home to Real Madrid in La Liga.

Real's second and third were scored by Cristiano Ronaldo, his 37th and 38th in the league this season, equalling the record jointly held by former Real striker Hugo Sanchez (1989/90) and former Athletic Bilbao forward Telmo Zarraonandia, known as Zarra (1950/51).

With one match remaining, Valencia have 68 points, six ahead of Villarreal, who are assured of fourth and go into the qualifying round for Europe's elite club competition.

Second-placed Real are 21 ahead of Valencia and four behind Barcelona, who were crowned champions for a third straight season on Wednesday and showed off the trophy to their fans after a 0-0 draw at home to Deportivo Coruna on Sunday.

Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid made sure of places in the Europa League thanks to Espanyol's 1-0 defeat at Real Zaragoza, who clung on to their top-flight status but remain in the final relegation place and in danger of following Almeria and Hercules down.

Bilbao drew 1-1 at home to Malaga, Sevilla beat visiting Real Sociedad 3-1 and Atletico won 2-1 at home to Hercules to leave all three on 55 points.

Getafe beat Osasuna 2-0 at their Coliseum stadium in Madrid and are level on 43 points with Depor, with Zaragoza on 42 ahead of next weekend's final matchday.

Getafe play at Real Sociedad, Depor host Valencia and Zaragoza play at Levante. Real Mallorca, who lost 3-1 at Almeria, Sociedad and Osasuna are level on 44 points.