Valencia eye fourth spot
Valencia moved into pole position in the race for the final Champions League spot with a 1-0 win over Granada.
Last Updated: 26/05/13 10:17pm
Valencia moved into pole position in the race for the fourth and final Champions League spot in the Primera Division as they ground out victory at home to Granada.
The hosts moved two points clear of Real Sociedad ahead of the final game of the season after their rivals were held to a thrilling 3-3 draw by Real Madrid.
The match at the Mestalla lacked almost all of that drama, with Roberto Soldado's close-range finish just before the hour mark deciding the contest.
Valencia now know a win on the final day at Sevilla will send them into the Champions League.
Defeat was not costly for Granada, whose top-flight status was sealed with a game to spare by results elsewhere.
Los Che lacked urgency in the first half against opponents who offered nothing going forward and it was not until the break was imminent that they threatened to make a breakthrough.
Juan Bernat's outswinging corner from the left was met by Jeremy Mathieu, whose header flew over the top.
Minutes later Mathieu put in the cross and Soldado headed over.
Knowing that realistically only victory would do if they were to keep their Champions League hopes in their own hands, the hosts were more effective in the second half.
Mathieu headed another Bernat corner high before Soldado got the goal they craved in the 59th minute.
Joao Pereira laid the ball in from the right of the area and Soldado met it with a right-foot finish into the roof of the net.
The visitors never looked like mounting a response, safe in the knowledge their 39-point total was unlikely to be overhauled by the sides in the bottom three.
Instead, Valencia went close to a second as Ever Banega had a cross tipped round the post and a shot from the edge of the area parried by goalkeeper Roberto, but they had to settle for one.