Villarreal close in on Valencia

Giuseppe Rossi scored the winning goal that puts pressure back on Valencia in third position

    Brazilian striker Julio Baptista was twice on target for Malaga in their match against Hercules [EPA]

    Shock defeats for both Barcelona and Real Madrid on Saturday changed very little at the top of the Spanish Primera Division with Barcelona set to claim the title in the coming weeks with Real Madrid in second.

    However, Villarreal picked up a crucial 2-1 victory over Getafe on Sunday to keep the race for third and fourth alive. Villarreal quickly bounced back from last week's humiliating 5-1 rout at the hands of FC Porto in the Europa League to keep the pressure on Valencia in third. 

    Valencia's 1-0 defeat to Osasuna on Sunday leaves only three points separating the clubs. Both third and fourth placed teams enter the Champions League although the fourth placed club have to partake in an earlier qualification round.

    The unexpected win moves Osasuna out of the relegation zone.  

    Rossi to the rescue

    Villarreal defeated Getafe with the help of Giuseppe Rossi who scored once and set up another goal as Villarreal came from behind.

    Villarreal generated chances throughout the match from its passing game but was unable to beat goalkeeper Oscar Ustari in the first half.

    Pedro Rios gave Getafe a 1-0 lead in the 31st, launching a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Diego Lopez.

    Cani converted the hosts' dominance into a 60th-minute equalizer, firing in from outside the area after Rossi had caught Getafe off guard by quickly passing a free kick to the Spanish midfielder.

    Rossi capped the comeback when Marco Ruben's pass found the Italy striker charging into the area to head past Ustari in the 74th.

    Almeria anguish

    Brazilian midfielder Renato scored a second half winner as Sevilla moved back up to fifth with a 1-0 win at 10-man Almeria.

    Substitute Renato struck on 57 minutes to down strugglers Almeria and help Sevilla enhance their European hopes moving above Atletico Madrid courtesy of their superior head to head record.

    Almeria reached the semi-finals of the Kings Cup for the first time in their history this season, but prop up the table and the Sevilla defeat leaves them on the brink of relegation with the club 11 points from safety with four games left.

    The game hinged on the dismissal of Almeria's Danish full back Michael Jakobsen for a crude challenge on Martin Caceres in the 52nd minute and the Uruguayan defender was stretchered off injured.

    Five minutes later Renato headed in the opening goal for Sevilla who held on despite a late fightback from the hosts.

    Baptista of fire

    Elsewhere Malaga took a giant stride towards safety with a 3-1 home win over relegation rivals Hercules.

    Spanish Results

    Sunday May 1

     Levante 0-0 Gijon
     Malaga 3 -1 Hercules  Almeria 0-1 Sevilla
     Santander 2-0 Mallorca
     Villarreal 2-1 Getafe
     Osasuna 1-0 Valencia

    Malaga came from behind to record a third straight victory and move four points clear of the relegation zone, while Hercules stay second from bottom, four points from safety.

    Paraguayan striker Nelson Valdes headed Hercules into a third minute lead, but Malaga responded with Brazilian Julio Baptista equalising 60 seconds later.

    Jose Rondon put Malaga ahead on 72 minutes before former Real Madrid man Baptista grabbed his second three minutes later to wrap up the points.

    Racing Santander moved five points clear of the drop zone with a solid 2-0 home win over Real Mallorca thanks to first half goals from Markus Rosenberg and Kennedy Bakircioglu.

    Levante and Sporting Gijon both picked up a useful point after their goalless draw to move further from the relegation zone.   

    SOURCE: Agencies


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