Athletic de Bilbao
Athletic de Bilbao
La Liga Round 28 Results: Real Sociedad climb up to fourth Champions League place
Philippe Montanier's men successfully dispatched of Valladolid to jump above Malaga and Valencia in La Liga as Atletico Madrid got back to winning ways against Osasuna
By Martin Macdonald
Deportivo were given a slight boost in their battle against relegation on Friday as they came out 3-1 winners over fellow strugglers Celta Vigo at the Riazor.
The hosts were on a nine-match winless run before the clash, but Riki netted early doors to give his side the vital opening goal. The 32-year-old got on the end of a Juan Carlos Valeron cross to cushion the ball on his thigh before acrobatically sending a volley into the corner.
Celta were facing an uphill battle just before the half-hour mark as star striker, Iago Aspas, was given his marching orders for a poor challenge on Carlos Marchena.
Depor extended their lead halfway through the second period when the ball broke to Silvio 30 yards out, and the Atletico Madrid loanee sent a fantastic half-volley into the top right corner.
Substitute, Diogo Salomao, made it three 12 minutes from time when he rounded Javi Varas before slotting home.
Park Chu-Young earned a close-range consolation two minutes later, but Deportivo already had the points in the bag.
REAL SOCIEDAD 4-1 VALLADOLID
Real Sociedad moved into the fourth Champions League place in La Liga with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Real Valladolid on Saturday.
Txuri-urdin started the match brightly, but it wasn't until just after the half-hour mark that they edged ahead. Mikel Gonzalez cushioned the ball with a header before laying the ball into the path of Antoine Griezmann, who lashed a strike into the bottom corner from the right-hand side of the box.
Imanol Agirretxe doubled the lead six minutes later when he took an assured touch inside the area before expertly curling the ball into the top corner.
Griezmann then took the game beyond the visitors just before the break in spectacular fashion. The Frenchman latched onto a long ball over the top of the Valladolid defence and, in one motion, took the ball out of the air and fired a sensational volley past Dani Hernandez.
The hosts showed no signs of letting up after the break, and added to their tally three minutes after half time. A superb interchange between Xabi Prieto, Griezmann and Carlos Vela saw the ball eventually come back to the Spaniard, who slotted home from close range.
Javi Guerra clawed a goal back in the latter stages for Valladolid, but the damage was well and truly done in the first period.
GETAFE 1-0 ATHLETIC BILBAO
An early strike from Borja Fernandez gave Getafe a narrow 1-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao at Coliseum Alfonso Perez in the Spanish Primera Division.
The Madrid-based side came flying out of the blocks, and came within inches of opening the scoring after just two minutes when Sergio Escudero was denied when his half-volley crashed off the top of the crossbar.
However, they did eventually register a goal in the seventh minute. Pedro Leon curled a corner kick into the area and Borja opened up his foot to send a left-footed volley high into the net.
Aritz Aduriz had a trio of chances to equalise for his side, but none came close to troubling Miguel Moya.
In the end, Getafe saw out the win relatively comfortably.
VALENCIA 3-0 BETIS
Valencia climbed above Real Betis in La Liga as los Che comfortably defeated Pepe Mel's men 3-0 at Mestalla.
The visitors were on a three-match unbeaten run in the league, but things took a turn for the worst for them in this match when Antonio Amaya saw red for a challenge on Roberto Soldado inside the box. The Valencia captain dusted himself off to step up and dispatch the penalty.
Betis' best opportunities came from set-pieces, and Benat came closest to scoring for his side when his free kick was expertly saved by Diego Alves.
Valencia marched on, though, and doubled their lead five minutes from time when Sergio Canales' teasing cross into the box was turned into the net by Betis defender, Paulao.
Jonas rounded off the win in stoppage-time when he curled into the corner following Tino Costa's cross.
MALAGA 0-2 ESPANYOL
Malaga suffered from a Champions League hangover on Sunday when they eventually slumped to a 2-0 defeat at home to Espanyol.
Manuel Pellegrini's men successfully progressed to the quarter-finals of Europe's elite competition on Wednesday, but the tense affair looked to have took it's toll as they welcomed the Barcelona-based side to La Rosaleda.
The first half wasn't filled with goalscoring chances, and the opening goal didn't come until the second period. Willy Caballero, who has arguably been the finest goalkeeper in La Liga this season, failed to hold on to a Joan Verdu corner kick, allowing Diego Colotto to smash home.
Malaga had the majority of the possession in the match, but it was Espanyol who proved to be more clinical in front of goal.
Mubarak Wakaso burst down the left-hand side and curled a cross to the front post, where Sergio Garcia got in front of his marker to turn the ball into the top corner, ensuring the visitors took all three points.
SEVILLA 4-0 REAL ZARAGOZA
Sevilla moved up to 10th place in La Liga with a convincing 4-0 win over Real Zaragoza at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Los Rojiblancos dominated from the get-go, and took the lead just before the half-hour mark. Ivan Rakitic sent in a free kick and Alvaro Negredo cleverly flicked the ball into the path of Coke Andujar, who finished into the net.
Zaragoza's plan was thrown into further turmoil when Stefan Babovic was shown a second yellow card for pulling the shirt of Geoffrey Kondogbia, and they were reduced to 10-men.
Unai Emery's men prospered from their man advantage, and doubled their lead shortly after the break when the ball broke to Coke, and the full-back rifled into the far corner from 25 yards out.
The match was took beyond the visitors 10 minutes later when a pacey counterattack saw Jesus Navas drive down the right-hand side and placed the ball inside to Jose Antonio Reyes, and the former Arsenal man placed the ball perfectly into the bottom left corner.
Negredo was not going to be left out of the act, however, and slid a shot home from a Reyes pass to complete a superb win for Sevilla.
OSASUNA 0-2 ATLETICO MADRID
Atletico Madrid moved back to within a point of Real Madrid in the Spanish Primera Division thanks to a 2-0 victory over Osasuna, and a double from Diego Costa.
The first 30 minutes of the match was a midfield battle with neither side able to pose a substantial threat to the opposition goal, but Diego Simeone's men eventually took the lead through a superb counterattack.
An Osasuna attack broke down and Gabi took advantage to gallop forward and slide a pass through to Koke, who homed in on goal before squaring to Costa, who needed two attempts at goal but eventually headed into the corner.
The Brazilian did his best to wind up the home crowd, and he risked their wrath three minuets after the restart when he got on the end of Koke's free kick to stab home from close range.
Los Colchoneros lost some tempo and intensity after Costa went off with an injury, but Osasuna never posed enough danger to threaten the win for the visitors.
GRANADA 1-1 LEVANTE
Granada further distanced themselves from the relegation zone with a point earned in a 1-1 draw with Levante on Sunday evening.
Both sides exchanged blows in the opening stages, but neither Tono or Gustavo Munua was made to work particularly hard to protect their respective goals.
The breakthrough eventually came 32 minutes in when Pedro Lopez handled inside the area and Guilherme Siqueira converted the subsequent penalty kick.
However, Levante pegged the hosts back four minutes into the second half when Vicente Iborra stole possession on the right-hand side before curling the ball to the front post, and Robert Acquafresca was on hand to twist his body to power a half-volley into the far corner.
Both sides had a couple of opportunities a-piece to earn the winners in the second period, but the defences came out on top to ensure the honours remained even.
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