MADRID (AP) — Athletic Bilbao provisionally stretched its fourth-place advantage while compounding Getafe's miserable run with a 1-0 victory in the Spanish league on Saturday.
Markel Susaeta curled home from a well-designed set-piece for the 40th-minute winner at San Mames to see Bilbao move nine points clear of Real Sociedad in the race to clinch the league's final Champions League qualifying spot.
Susaeta had no opposition to worry about as he stepped in to Ander Herrera's pass with the Getafe defensive wall expecting a shot from outside the area, as the Basque midfielder shot exquisitely to give the hosts the lead in a dour contest up until then.
"We're not a machine. The last game we scored four goals against Granada but today it was hard work," Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde said after his team stretched its unbeaten run to five games.
Getafe striker Ciprian Marica saw a pair of strong scoring opportunities saved by Athletic goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz in the second half.
Getafe remained one point above the drop after its winless run was stretched to 14 games dating to November.
Spanish leader Real Madrid hosts Barcelona on Sunday in a clasico with title implications as Madrid holds a four-point lead over its rival. Atletico Madrid, which trails Madrid by three points, is at last-place Real Betis.
"It's the last chance we have to take the league," Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino said.