La Liga & Serie A: Villarreal close in on UCL; Napoli keep title race going

AP Photo/Alberto Saiz
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A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

[ MORE: Saturday’s La Liga & Serie A roundup ]

Villarreal 2-0 Getafe

Villarreal are eight points clear with six games to go in the race for UEFA Champions League qualification after knocking off Getafe at home on Sunday. Denis Suarez (15th minute) and Cedric Bakambu (84th) provided the goals for Marcelino García Toral’s side as they inched three points closer to locking up fourth place. Villarreal could also qualify for next season’s Champions League by winning this season’s UEFA Europa League (they hold a 2-1 lead over Sparta Prague after the first league of their quarterfinal tie).

Valencia 2-1 Sevilla

With Villarreal all but locking up fourth place, Sevilla’s only chance of getting into UCL next season is to win this season’s Europa League. Good news for them: they’re UEL ringers, having won the competition each of the last two seasons and currently holding a 2-1 lead over Athletic Bilbao in this year’s quarters. However, Sunday’s loss to Valencia puts them in danger of failing to even qualify for UEL next season, should they fail to win it this year. For 85 minutes, they looked like 1-0 losers (Daniel Parejo opened the scoring in the 41st minute), then from minutes 86-90 they looked certain for a 1-1 draw (Kevin Gameiro equalized on 86 minutes), then it was all undone by Alvaro Negredo’s 91st-minute winner.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Sporting Gijon 0-1 Celta Vigo
Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Rayo Vallecano

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Barcelona 32 24 4 4 87 27 60 14-1-1 10-3-3 76
Atlético Madrid 32 23 4 5 54 16 38 11-3-1 12-1-4 73
Real Madrid 32 22 6 4 93 29 64 14-1-2 8-5-2 72
Villarreal 32 17 9 6 41 26 15 12-3-2 5-6-4 60
Celta Vigo 32 15 7 10 45 52 -7 7-5-4 8-2-6 52
Athletic 32 15 6 11 50 40 10 9-4-3 6-2-8 51
Sevilla 32 13 9 10 45 39 6 13-0-3 0-9-7 48

Napoli 3-0 Hellas Verona

No Gonzalo Higuain — he of 30 goals scored in 31 league games this season — no problem for Napoli against bottom-of-the-league Hellas Verona. Manolo Gabbiadini, Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon each chipped in with a goal apiece (below videos). That’s four wins in five for Napoli, but nowhere near enough to keep pace with league leaders and champions-elect Juventus (21 wins in their last 22 league games) in the race for the title. With six games to go, Juve lead Napoil by six points. The gap between Napoli and third-place Roma, who play on Monday, is currently seven points.

Empoli 2-0 Fiorentina

At one point this season, Fiorentina looked legitimate contenders for the title. Now, with six games to go, they’re holding onto UEL qualification for dear life. Sunday’s loss away to Empoli makes it six games without a win for Paulo Sousa’s side. Manuel Pucciarelli and Piotr Zielinski bagged the goals that sentenced the Viola to yet another disappointing result, dropping them from fourth, where they began the weekend, to fifth, where they’re one spot away from falling all the way out of European competition next season.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Torino 2-1 Atalanta
Sampdoria 2-0 Udinese
Palermo 0-3 Lazio

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Juventus 32 24 4 4 58 17 41 12-2-1 12-2-3 76
Napoli 32 21 7 4 66 27 39 13-3-0 8-4-4 70
Roma 31 18 9 4 66 32 34 10-4-1 8-5-3 63
Inter Milan 32 17 7 8 42 30 12 10-2-4 7-5-4 58
Fiorentina 32 16 8 8 51 35 16 10-4-2 6-4-6 56
AC Milan 32 13 10 9 42 35 7 9-4-3 4-6-6 49