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Football
Valencia close gap on Barcelona
Malaga come from behind to defeat Real Mallorca as Valencia put four past Sporting Gijon in La Liga.
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2012 23:13
Valencia's French midfielder Sofiane Feghouli celebrates scoring a wonderstrike against Sporting Gijon [AFP] 

Sofiane Feghouli struck a stunning volley and Jonas scored twice in added time as Valencia thumped struggling Sporting Gijon 4-0 in La Liga on Sunday to climb within eight points of second-placed Barcelona. 

In the late game Real Madrid opened a 10-point lead over Barcelona at the top of the table after Cristiano Ronaldo's sixth hat-trick of the season clinched a 4-2 comeback win at home to 10-man Levante.

Feghouli brought the crowd to their feet with a brilliant goal in the 34th minute at the Mestalla.

French compatriot Jeremy Mathieu found space down the left and his clipped cross bounced once before Feghouli crashed a left-foot shot high into the net past Gijon goalkeeper Juan Pablo from the edge of the area.

Second from bottom Gijon barely threatened the home goal and a Feghouli shot was turned into his own net by Alberto Botia 17 minutes from time.

Substitute Jonas nodded a third and poked in a fourth in added time as Valencia punished poor defending from the
Asturians to secure their first win in six league outings.

With just over half the season played, Real have 55 points with a game in hand, Barca are on 48 and Valencia have 40, eight ahead of city rivals Levante.

Malaga got their bid for a European qualification spot back on track when they came from a goal down to beat visiting Real Mallorca 3-1.

The victory lifted the ambitious Qatar-owned club, one of Europe's biggest spenders in the close season, to seventh, level on 31 points with sixth-placed Atletico Madrid, who drew 0-0 at Racing Santander on Saturday, and Osasuna in eighth.

Fifth-placed Espanyol's European aspirations suffered a setback when they were upset 2-0 at home by bottom side Real Zaragoza.

The Barcelona-based team are level on 32 points with Levante while Zaragoza have 15, four behind Gijon.

Rayo Vallecano moved up to 10th on 28 points with a 2-0 home win over local rivals Getafe who had Michel sent off in the 61st minute.

Lowly Villarreal defeated Granada 3-1 to boost their chances of survival.

Source:
Agencies
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