Atletico Madrid secure CL place
Last Updated: May 8, 2013 9:43pm
Atletico Madrid forward Radamel Falcao in action.
Atletico Madrid assured themselves of a top-three finish in the Primera Division and an automatic berth in the Champions League after seeing off relegation-haunted Celta Vigo 3-1.
Celta marginally edged a goalless first half but it was Atletico who took control with goals from Diego Costa and Juanfran Torres after the break.
The home side pulled a goal back with six minutes to go through Augusto Fernandez but Atletico star Radamel Falcao ended any further hopes of a fightback as he made it 3-1 two minutes later to complete the scoring.
The result means Atletico now cannot be caught by fourth-placed Real Sociedad, who are 14 points behind with only four games left.
Celta came into the match, which was brought forward from next week due to Atletico's Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid on May 17, knowing a victory would lift them out fo the bottom two and up to 16th.
And they looked capable of doing that during a promising first half which saw them go close early on with a superb strike from Michael Krohn-Delhi that was saved by Thibaut Courtois.
Celta would come no closer than that before the interval though, and it was Atletico who would get their noses in front just moments after half-time.
Koke curled over an inswinging corner from the left which was flicked on at the near post and Costa reacted quickest to nod home past Javi Varas.
The hosts tried to respond and Fernandez drew a fine save from Courtois in the 53rd minute.
Celta's chances of getting anything out of the game suffered a big hit in the 66th minute though as they found themselves 2-0 down when Juanfran's shot from outside the box that a huge deflection to beat Varas.
Fernandez halved the deficit with a shot that should have been saved by Courtois - immediately after the Atletico custodian had done superbly to parry a shot from Enrique De Lucas - but Celta's joy barely lasted three minutes before Falcao restored Atletico's two-goal lead with a close-range finish into the roof of the net.
Diego Simeone's men could have increased their winning margin in the final minutes with Falcao drawing a fine save from Varas and Arda Turan firing against the post, but Atletico had already done enough to secure their top-three spot.
Spanish Primera BBVA
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