Football

Diego Costa winner helps Atletico Madrid qualify for Champions League

Ten-man Atletico Madrid sealed Champions League qualification for the eighth consecutive season by beating Real Betis 1-0 yesterday morning (Singapore time), thanks to a Diego Costa goal.

Despite having defender Mario Hermoso sent off in the 57th minute, Atletico secured the win when Costa scored with a scuffed header in the 74th minute at the Wanda Metropolitano.

The win took third-placed Atletico on to 66 points after 36 games, nine ahead of fifth-placed Villarreal, while also maintaining coach Diego Simeone's run of reaching Europe's premier competition in each of his full campaigns in charge.

Elsewhere, Barcelona defeated Real Valladolid 1-0, after Lionel Messi's 20th assist of the season helped Arturo Vidal bag the 15th-minute winner.

The away win took second-placed Barca on to 79 points after 36 games, one behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid who have three games left, including tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) visit to Granada. - REUTERS

Football