Atletico Madrid qualified for the Champions League on Wednesday as Elche secured a place in the top four of La Liga with a 2-0 win.
Matthews Cunha and Rodrigo de Paul were both on target as Atletico Real finished fifth, six points ahead of Betis, with two games remaining. Atletico also have a higher head-to-head record than Betis.
However, Sevilla failed to secure their top-four spot as they drew 0-0 at home to Mallorca before the team’s weak end at the end of the season.
Atletico now look to be in third place and although their league title defense is extremely disappointing – they are 14 points behind Real Madrid – Diego Simeone’s side have at least avoided losing in the Champions League, a possibility that seemed very real for some time.
“I’m happy for the players,” said Simeone. “It was an up and down season, with a Champions League when we competed very well and a La Liga where we could not maintain our consistency.
“Not what we envisioned but what we achieved – the Champions League for another year, which is very important for the club.”
In December, Atletico lost four consecutive league games for the first time under Simeone, before losing to Levante, who sat at the table, sparking a crisis of discussion between coaches and players in February.
But five consecutive wins in March have proved crucial and one more dip in recent weeks, enough for Atletico to seal the Champions League qualification for the 10th year in a row.
Atletico will play Sevilla at home on Sunday, with a stalemate against Mallorca in Ramon Sanchez Pizjuane delaying their qualification as they are five points ahead of Betis with two games remaining.
Sevilla will have to assure one more point that they will be ahead of Betis, as they will have a better head start with their city rivals.
Julen Lopetegui’s side, however, have two tough final matches ahead of the final at Athletic Bilbao’s home in Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday.
And even if they do cross the line, Sevilla are ending a promising campaign at one point, after just three wins in their last 12 in all competitions.
The whistle was blown from home fans when Mallorca was rarely satisfied with the draw. They are 18th, two points behind in terms of safety, with Cadiz ahead of them in a game at hand at Real Sociedad on Thursday.
Sevilla had a better chance overall but Mallorca were not too obsessed and could take the lead at the break when Vedat Muriki had to nail the header to Bono.
Anthony Marshall went to Sevilla in the second half but their best chance came during the injury as Youssef N-Nesiri connected well with the header, only Mallorca goalkeeper Manolo Raina made a great save.