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La Liga: Barcelona closer to securing second place after 2-0 win at last-place Almeria


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Fermin Lopez scored both goals as Barcelona defeated last-place Almeria 2-0 to move closer to securing second place in the Spanish league.

Lppez on Thursday scored a goal in each half for Barcelona, which opened a four-point gap to third-place Girona with two rounds to go. Second place guarantees a spot in the lucrative Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.

Barcelona closes its league campaign by hosting Rayo Vallecano and visiting Sevilla, while Girona visits Valencia and hosts Granada.

“It’s a clear victory that moves us closer to our goal of finishing in second place,” Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández said.

It was the third win in four matches for Barcelona, which is 14 points behind already crowned champion Real Madrid. Madrid defeated Alaves 5-0 on Tuesday.

Almeria, which has only 17 points from 36 matches, remains without a home victory in the league this season. Its only two league wins came at Las Palmas and at Rayo Vallecano.

Betis held by Las Palmas

Real Betis was held to a 2-2 draw at Las Palmas in a match in which playmaker Isco left with an injury after a hard knock from an opponent in the first half.

Coach Manuel Pellegrini also lost midfielder Guido Rodriguez because of an apparent muscle injury early in the game.

Betis entered the round in sixth place and in the fight for the European qualification spots. It dropped to seventh after Real Sociedad defeated Valencia 1-0 later on Thursday with a goal by André Silva three minutes into the match.

Sociedad had won only one of its last five matches, against Las Palmas.

Sociedad visits Betis in the next round.

“We are not happy but we played a good game,” Pellegrini said.

“We lost two important players and had to make two early changes.” Isco, who is expected to make Spain’s squad for the European Championship, went off in the 39th and Rodriguez in the 20th because of their injuries.

Betis is unbeaten in six matches, with four wins and two draws.

The result halted an eight-match losing streak for Las Palmas, which sits in 14th place. It hasn’t won in 12 straight league games.

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