May 2, 2014 at 8pm UK at ​Estadio Teresa Rivero
Rayo Vallecano
Athletic Bilbao

Joaquin (45'), Niguez (46'), Arbilla (50'), Castro (73')
FT(HT: 0-2)
San Jose (20'), de Marcos (32'), Herrera (74')
Aduriz (76')

Result: Athletic Bilbao brush aside Rayo Vallecano to close in on Champions League

Result: Bilbao brush aside Rayo to close in on CL
© Getty Images
Ander Herrera scores a bizarre free kick as Athletic Bilbao ease to a 3-0 win over Rayo Vallecano in Madrid to all but secure Champions League football for next season.

Athletic Bilbao have virtually secured Champions League football for next season following their convincing 3-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano tonight.

Ander Herrera scored from a free kick over by the corner flag on 76 minutes to add to earlier goals from Mikel San Jose and Oscar de Marcos in Madrid.

The result puts nine points between Bilbao and Sevilla, who have three games to play, in the race for fourth spot in La Liga, and Ernesto Valverde's side also have a superior goal difference at present.

Herrera and Markel Susaeta shot off target with early sighters, while Aritz Aduriz headed narrowly wide from a Susaeta cross as Bilbao made a bright start to the contest.

They were soon rewarded with a lead as another good delivery from Susaeta was headed beyond Ruben in the Vallecano goal in by San Jose on 20 minutes, for his fifth of the season.

Rayo responded well to threaten through Saul Niguez, who nodded wide from a Roberto Trashorras pass before setting up Anaitz Arbilla for a shot that went over the crossbar a minute later.

However, it was Bilbao who added to the scores as De Marcos stabbed home from close range on 32 minutes after Rayo had again failed to clear a corner, as they did for the first goal.

The hosts rarely threatened a second-half comeback, although Trashorras did test Gorka Iraizoz from range.

Herrera wrapped up the points with a bizarre third as his free kick from the left byline looped over everyone, including Vallecano stopper Ruben, on its way into the bottom corner.

Vallecano remain ninth in the table after suffering just their second defeat in 11 league matches.

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates his goal during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs UD Almeria at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 2, 2014
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