Barcelona's Pedri, center, is congratulated after scoring his side's 3rd...

Barcelona's Pedri, center, is congratulated after scoring his side's 3rd goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Olimpic Lluis Companys stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, May 19, 2024. Credit: AP/Joan Monfort

MADRID — Barcelona routed Rayo Vallecano 3-0 to secure the lucrative second place in the Spanish league on Sunday, while champion Real Madrid drew 4-4 at Villarreal with Norway striker Alexander Sorloth scoring all four goals for the hosts.

There won't be much left to fight for in the final round next weekend as Cadiz became the last team to be relegated after being held to a 0-0 draw at home against Las Palmas. Real Sociedad secured the last Europa League spot with a 2-0 win at Real Betis, which was left with a place in the Europa Conference League.

Pedri scored twice and Robert Lewandowski once for Barcelona, which kept a four-point gap to Catalan rival Girona with a round to go. Girona won 3-1 at Valencia for its first-ever third place finish in the Spanish league. It had already clinched a Champions League place in advance.

Atletico Madrid will finish fourth after a 4-1 loss to midtable Osasuna at its Metropolitano stadium.

BARCELONA SECOND

Lewandowski scored in the third minute and Pedri added goals in the 72nd and 75th as Barcelona won for the fourth time in five matches to seal second place and a spot in the lucrative Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.

Madrid and Copa del Rey finalists Mallorca and Athletic Bilbao also will play in the Super Cup next season.

Villarreal's Alexander Sorloth gestures after the Spanish La Liga soccer...

Villarreal's Alexander Sorloth gestures after the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Villareal and Real Madrid at Estadio De La Ceramica in Villareal, Spain, Sunday, May 19, 2024. Credit: AP/Alberto Saiz

The victory came a day after Xavi denied a slew of reports in Spanish media outlets that Barcelona’s leadership is considering firing the coach for having said that the club’s poor finances will impede it from competing with Madrid.

“The situation hasn't changed,” Xavi said. “I imagine I'll speak with the president tomorrow or the next day. We needed the win to secure second place and we did it."

Some fans chanted in support of Xavi and against Laporta during Sunday's match.

Rayo is in 16th place.

FC Barcelona club President Joan Laporta, center, gestures at the...

FC Barcelona club President Joan Laporta, center, gestures at the stand before a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Olimpic Lluis Companys stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, May 19, 2024. Credit: AP/Joan Monfort

SORLOTH THRIVES

Sorloth scored once in the first half and three times in the second to give eighth-place Villarreal a draw against Madrid, which scored all of its goals before halftime.

Arda Guler scored twice and Joselu and Lucas Vázquez added a goal each for Madrid, which played with a mostly reserve squad as it continues to prepare for the Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund on June 1 in London.

Madrid had clinched its 36th league title three rounds ago.

CADIZ DEMOTED

Cadiz needed a win against Las Palmas to avoid returning to the second division for the first time since the 2019-20 season.

Cadiz, coming off two consecutive victories, had a goal disallowed by video review for offside in the first half, and saw defender Victor Chust sent off with a straight red card in the 74th.

Cadiz had spent 14 straight seasons in the lower divisions — including seven years in the third tier — before making it to the top flight in 2020-21.

Almeria and Granada had already been relegated before Sunday's games.

SOCIEDAD SIXTH

Sociedad sealed the final Europa League spot with the win against Manuel Pellegrini's Betis.

Brais Mendez and Mikel Merino scored first-half goals for Sociedad, which won three of its last four games.

The other Europa League place had been secured by Athletic Bilbao, which beat 13th-place Sevilla 2-0.

In other results, 17th-place Mallorca drew 2-2 against last-place Almeria and Celta Vigo won 2-1 at second-to-last Granada.

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