MADRID: Barcelona secured qualification for next season’s Champions League on Saturday as Jordi Alba’s 94th-minute winner against Real Betis guaranteed the Catalans’ place in the top four of La Liga. Alba’s stinging injury-time volley snatched a 2-1 victory for Barca at the Benito Villamarin to ensure they will play in the Champions League next term, an achievement likely to be crucial to the club’s hopes of financial recovery. When Xavi Hernandez took over as coach in November, Barcelona lay ninth in La Liga, with genuine concerns about their chances of closing the gap. But, Xavi’s team surged up the table and can now look forward to rejoining their rivals Real Madrid in Europe’s premier tournament next season. The difference between Champions League and Europa League football could be worth more than 50 million euros ($52.7 million) to Barcelona, who began the season with debts of more than a billion euros, and were forced to let Lionel Messi leave for free last summer. While a trophyless season can never count as a success for Barca, finishing in the top four is an impressive achievement for Xavi and a huge relief for the club. Victory leaves Barcelona second in the table, 11 points clear of Betis in fifth. Both teams have three games left to play. Barca should now be confident of clinching second place too, with a five-point edge over Sevilla, who play at Villarreal on Sunday.