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Atletico misses chance to strengthen hold on 4th place after losing at Alaves in Spanish league

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MADRID — Atletico Madrid followed up its Champions League elimination with a 2-0 loss at Alaves in the Spanish league on Sunday, missing a chance to strengthen its hold on fourth place.

The defeat against 13th-place Alaves kept Atletico only three points ahead of fifth-place Athletic Bilbao in the fight for a Champions League spot next season. Athletic had been held to a 1-1 draw against relegation-threatened Granada at home on Friday.

Atletico failed to advance in the Champions League after losing to Borussia Dortmund 5-4 on aggregate following a 4-2 loss in Germany on Tuesday.

Alaves, which had lost three league matches in a row, won with goals by Carlos Benavídez in the 15th minute and Luis Rioja in second-half stoppage time.

In other results, sixth-place Real Sociedad was held 1-1 at midtable Getafe, while ninth-place Villarreal won 2-1 at last-place Almeria.

Leader Real Madrid hosted Barcelona in the final “clasico” of the season later. Madrid enters the game with an eight-point league lead over its rival.

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