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Atletico Madrid stays 3rd in Spain after losing to last-place Elche


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MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid failed to regain second place in the Spanish league after a 1-0 loss to already-relegated Elche on Sunday.

The defeat kept Atletico two points behind Real Madrid, which beat Getafe 1-0 on Saturday. Barcelona has a comfortable lead at the top and can clinch the title with a win at Espanyol later Sunday.

The loss also prevented Atletico from mathematically securing a spot in next season’s Champions League, though it can do this by earning a point from its last four matches.

It was Atletico’s only second loss in its last 16 league games. The team’s other defeat was at Barcelona in April.

Forward Fidel scored in the 41st minute to give last-place Elche its fourth league win of the season.

RELEGATION FIGHT

Alberto Mari scored with a header in the 88th as Valencia beat Celta Vigo 2-1 to boost its chances of avoiding relegation.

The result moved Valencia to 14th place, three points from the relegation zone with four matches remaining.

Justin Kluivert put Valencia ahead in the eighth and Haris Seferovic equalized in the 60th for Celta, which stayed 13th.

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