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La Liga: Girona Beat Cadiz To Guarantee European Qualification | Football News



Girona moved a step closer to securing Champions League qualification with an emphatic 4-1 win over Cadiz in La Liga on Saturday, which ensured they will play European football next season. Eric Garcia, Ivan Martin, Artem Dovbyk and Cristian Portu struck for the Catalan minnows, third, who moved 10 points clear of fifth-placed Athletic Bilbao. Although their unlikely title challenge eventually ran out of steam, a top-four finish would be a remarkable achievement for Girona in only their fourth season in La Liga.

After Copa del Rey winners Athletic could only draw against Granada on Friday, Michel Sanchez’s side capitalised in the race for the top four. Their victory guarantees them at least a Europa Conference League spot next season.

Girona made light work of struggling Cadiz, 18th and six points from safety, at their tiny 14,000-seater Montilivi stadium, which will need some reforms if it is to host Champions League football.

Players celebrated with fans at the end and wore special shirts to celebrate the club qualifying for Europe for the first time in their history.

“(I’m) very happy with the win and reaching our first objective, which we’ve done, but we’re not stopping here,” said Martin.

“This is a historic day for the club and we have to celebrate it as it deserves.”

Garcia, on loan from Barcelona, kicked off proceedings with a header after nine minutes following a clever short-corner routine.

Girona doubled their advantage after 22 minutes when Martin smoothly swept home after Miguel Gutierrez backheeled the ball into his path.

La Liga’s top scorer Dovbyk extended his tally to 18 for the season with a fine turn and finish in the box to kill off any Cadiz comeback ideas.

The visitors did grab a consolation through Gonzalo Escalante and although Paulo Gazzaniga pushed his effort away the ball had crossed the line first.

Portu quickly restored Girona’s comfortable advantage, beating Cadiz goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma to a long ball and rolling into the empty net.

“All we can do is keep fighting,” said Cadiz midfielder Escalante.

Earlier Iago Aspas struck twice for Celta Vigo as they romped to a 4-1 win over Las Palmas and boosted their hopes of survival.

The Galicians, 17th, moved six points clear of the drop zone.

Ayoze Perez’s brace helped Real Betis earn a 2-1 win over Valencia, enabling them to leapfrog their opponents to move seventh.

Rayo Vallecano, 14th, climbed away from danger with a 2-1 win over Osasuna.

On Sunday leaders Real Madrid face second-placed Barcelona in a Clasico battle which could be pivotal in the title race.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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