Betis wins in La Liga to stay in race for Champions League

Betis and Barcelona players observe a minute of silence for the victims of the van attacks before a La Liga soccer match. (Manu Fernandez/AP)

MADRID — Real Betis defeated last-place Malaga 2-1 in the Spanish league on Monday to keep alive its hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

Betis’ seventh win in eight matches left the team eight points behind third-place Valencia with three matches left. The result secured Betis a place in the Europa League for the first time in four years.

It last played in the Champions League in 2005-06.

Fabian Ruiz scored the winner with a shot from outside the area in the 73rd minute at Benito Villamarin Stadium. Youssef En-Nesyri had put Malaga on the board in the 20th and Riza Durmisi equalized for the hosts soon after.

Betis hadn’t conceded a goal in six matches.

"Happy with the three points and with the return to a European competition," Ruiz said.

Malaga had already been relegated, along with Las Palmas and Clarence Seedorf’s Deportivo La Coruna.

Barcelona on Sunday won its seventh league title in 10 seasons.

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