MADRID (AP) — Athletic Bilbao secured its return to the Champions League next season by winning 3-0 at Rayo Vallecano on Friday to lock up a fourth-place finish in the Spanish league.
With Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona destined to take the top three spots, Bilbao fended off Sevilla's surge to seal its return to Europe's top-tier competition for the first time since the 1998-99 season.
Mikel San Jose and Oscar de Marcos scored in the first half, and Ander Herrera netted a free kick in the 74th.
The kickoff was delayed 15 minutes to clean up bits of paper Rayo's fans threw on the pitch, and it was stopped again when a barrier collapsed in front of the Bilbao supporters after their second goal. One young man needed to be carried away while he held his foot.