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SOCCER

Valencia moves into fourth place with Vallecano defeat

Valencia moved into fourth place in La Liga on Sunday after posting a comfortable 4-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano at the Campo de Futbol de Vallecas.

The win was Valencia's second consecutive result in league play as Roberto Soldado scored a brace, while Andres Guardado and Nelson Valdez added goals for Valencia, which slides into the final Champions League qualifying place on 59 points, one ahead of Real Sociedad.

The visitors opened the scoring two minutes before the half-hour mark when Soldado converted a penalty kick for his first tally of the afternoon. He then added a second goal in the 34th minute to give his club a quick two-goal lead.

Valencia put the game away in the second half as Guardado found the back of the net in the 62nd minute and Valdez finished off the rout with a goal in stoppage time.

The result leaves Vallecano in 10th place on 46 points.

Barcelona 2, Atletico Madrid 1

Madrid, Spain - Barcelona remained in top form on Sunday by securing a 2-1 victory over Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon.

The Catalans locked up their 22nd La Liga title on Saturday after second-place Real Madrid could only manage a draw with Espanyol, and appeared to be a bit sluggish through the first half.

Atletico opened the scoring in the 51st minute through Radamel Falcao, but Alexis Sanchez put the sides back on level terms when he found the net for Barcelona in the 72nd minute.

Barcelona was gifted a winning goal with 10 minutes to play when a shot deflected off Atletico's Gabi and wound up in the net to give the Catalans a 2-1 result.

Atletico remains in third place with the defeat on 72 points from 36 matches.

Real Betis 1, Celta Vigo 0

Seville, Spain - Rubin Castro's second-half strike was enough to lift Real Betis to a 1-0 result over relegation-battling Celta Vigo on Sunday at the Benito Villamarin.

The lone tally of the match came in the 67th minute as Castro got on the end of a cross from Javi Chica and ripped a right-footed shot into the bottom left corner of the net.

Needing a win to climb out of the bottom three, Celta Vigo pushed numbers forward the remainder of the match, but were unable to mount any kind of offensive threat as Betis held on to take three points.

Celta Vigo remains in 19th place on 31 points from 36 matches, three from safety.

Malaga 0, Sevilla 0

Malaga, Spain - Malaga and Sevilla battled to a 0-0 draw on Sunday at the Estadio La Rosaleda.

Chances were nearly impossible to come by as Malaga couldn't manage any shots on target, while Seville had just two on goal, but never looked like scoring over the course of the 90 minutes.

The draw keeps Malaga in sixth place in La Liga on 54 points from 36 games, while Sevilla inches up to eighth place on 47 points.