Birmingham:John Carew fired Aston Villa to a 1-0 victory over Hull on Monday to end a run of 12 winless games and guarantee a place in next season's Europa League.
The Norwegian striker's 14th goal of the season in the 34th minute enabled Villa to recapture fifth place in the Premier League.
Martin O'Neill's team can no longer catch Arsenal in the fourth and last Champions League spot, but Villa is now assured of a place in next season's Europa League, the revamped UEFA Cup.
For Hull, which has now won just one of its last 19 games, the loss means it is still 17th and only three points above the relegation zone with three games to go. The Tigers, in their first ever season in the top flight, were in the top six before the slide began.
England manager Fabio Capello, who has selected several Villa players this season, was at Villa Park for the game even though the central English club has been struggling in recent weeks.
Daniel Cousin was Hull's lone striker with Caleb Folan suspended after his red card against Liverpool and the Tigers lost captain Ian Ashbee with a leg injury after only nine minutes after a strong challenge on Villa's James Milner.
The home side took the lead when Hull's former Villa midfielder, George Boateng, lost possession to Gareth Barry and the ball was quickly transferred via Ashley Young to Carew who slid the ball home.
With Hull creating few problems for Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel, manager Phil Brown sent on former England forward Nick Barmby for the disappointing Geovanni for the second half.
But Villa continued to create chances and Hull goalkeeper Boaz Myhill had to dive to push a powerful shot from Barry round the corner.
Friedel finally made a save in the 82nd minute when Barmby deflected a shot goalwards and the American dived to block and that near miss prompted a late Hull fightback which put the home side under pressure.