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By ESPN Staff

Atletico win to strengthen grip on UCL berth

MADRID, May 8 (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid beat Espanyol 2-0 away to strengthen their hold on fourth place and a Champions League berth, in the Primera Liga on Thursday.

Two goals in three first-half minutes from Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan put the visitors in control, and only the woodwork prevented Maxi Rodriguez from making it three when his spectacular volley hit the crossbar and then the post.

Espanyol, who have not won in eight, stay 11th.

The result leaves Javier Aguirre's Atletico three points short of third-placed Barcelona, who were hammered 4-1 at the Bernabeu by champions Real Madrid on Wednesday.

With two games left to play, Atletico have a three-point cushion and the head-to-head advantage over fifth-placed Sevilla, who moved above Racing Santander with a 3-0 victory also on Wednesday.