Valencia stay in hunt

Valencia edged ahead of Real Sociedad in the race for Spain's last available Champions League berth and Barcelona moved a step closer to equalling the La Liga record points total in the penultimate round of matches on Sunday.

Valencia's 1-0 victory at home to Granada lifted them above Sociedad into fourth, two points clear of the Basque club who drew 3-3 with second-placed Real Madrid in San Sebastian.

Champions Barca, missing the injured Lionel Messi, coasted to a 2-0 win at city rivals Espanyol that put them on 97 points and victory next Saturday at home to Malaga would mean they equal Real Madrid's record total of 100 set last term.

Real's draw at Sociedad means Barca are now 15 points ahead of their arch rivals, three more than the biggest winning margin in La Liga history set by Barca in the 2005-06 season.

Valencia's bid to qualify for the Champions League foundered when they lost 4-2 at Sociedad at the end of last month but four straight victories have put them back in pole position to secure fourth spot and a place in the qualifying round of Europe's elite club competition. Their final match is at ninth-placed Sevilla next Saturday, who have nothing to play for, while Sociedad are at relegation-threatened Deportivo La Coruna.

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