Mallorca resurrect Champions League hopes

MADRID - Real Mallorca climbed into fourth place in La Liga with a quietly efficient 2-0 victory at home to Osasuna on Monday, putting them back in poll position for Spain's last Champions League qualification slot.

While all the noise and attention is focused on Barcelona and Real Madrid's battle for first place, Mallorca continued their surprisingly steady progress towards a top-four finish in front of a half-empty Ono Estadi.

Ruben Gonzalez headed Gregorio Manzano's over-achievers into the lead from a corner after 36 minutes, and Alhassane Keita sprinted clear to hammer home the decider at the end.

With five games left to play, Mallorca are fourth on 55 points, one ahead of Sevilla, who beat Sporting Gijon 3-0 on Saturday.

Mallorca last played in Europe's elite club competition in the 2001/02 season under the stewardship of Luis Aragones after equalling their best ever league finish of third the year before.

Leaders Barca saw their advantage over Real cut to just one point on the weekend, after they drew 0-0 at city rivals Espanyol on Saturday.

Real swept past Valencia 2-0 on Sunday to climb on to 83 points, a massive 24 ahead of their third-placed visitors who occupy the last automatic Champions League qualification berth.

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