|Levante ended a run of three straight defeats with their win over Sporting Gijon [AFP]|
Real Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez scored a spectacular long-range goal without even leaving his own half on Sunday to give his team a 3-2 win at Real Betis in Spain’s Primera Division.
With 90 minutes completed, the game looked to be headed for a draw but Martinez took possession, pushed forward and caught Betis goalkeeper Casto Espinosa off his line with a perfectly placed left-footed lob from just inside his own half.
Martinez scored a similar goal from the halfway line in a 2-1 loss to Athletic Bilbao earlier this season.
The victory ends Sociedad’s eight-game winless run and provisionally lifted them out of the relegation zone.
After a scoreless first half that saw Antoine Griezmann miss a penalty kick for the Basque visitors, the game came alive in Seville.
Sociedad took control through striker Imanol Agirretxe’s 56th-minute header and Carlos Vela’s goal in the 76th.
Substitute forward Jonathan Pereira went on for Betis and netted a pair of goals in the 81st and 85th to apparently salvage a point for his team, only to see Martinez’s long blast float over Espinosa and land in the back of the net.
“The ending to the game was just cruel,” said Betis coach Pepe Mel, whose team has lost eight of the last nine matches after a strong start to the season.
Also on Sunday, Levante rediscovered their winning form to thrash Sporting Gijon 4-0 and end a three-game losing streak.
Levante stayed in fourth place, one point behind Valencia, with the first victory since their memorable start to the season took the team to the top of the league for the first time in their history.
Arouna Kone guided Levante to their most lopsided victory of the season by scoring twice and setting up another at Ciutat de Valencia stadium.
The Ivory Coast striker set up the hosts’ 20th-minute opener when he stole the ball from Sporting defender Roberto Canella, charged forward to draw in the defence, and laid off for Barkero to tap home.
Sporting reacted with striker David Barral having the best chance to equalise before half-time when he flicked a header just by the post.
But after the restart Levante quickly put the result beyond doubt with two counterattacks.
Valdo Lopes pushed in a rebound from a shot by Juanlu Gomez to double Levante’s lead in the 47th, and five minutes later Kone deftly dribbled past Sporting goalkeeper Juan Colinas before rolling the ball into the net.
Kone then slotted in the rebound after a free kick by Asier del Horno that came off the post in the 62nd to cap Sporting’s first loss in six rounds.
Also, Granada dealt Athletic Bilbao their first loss in their last 12 games in all competitions through a 1-0 win at San Mames stadium thanks to defender Inigo Lopez’s first-half header.
Ten-man Mallorca beat Racing Santander 2-1 for their first win under coach Joaquin Caparros since replacing Michael Laudrup.
Osasuna also played a man down in the final 15 minutes as they held on to win 2-1 at Espanyol for their first away victory of the season.