La Liga review

Valencia consolidate third place

April 22, 2012

Valencia consolidated third spot in the Primera Division and gained a confidence boost ahead of Thursday's Europa League semi-final second leg with a comfortable 4-0 victory over nine-man Real Betis at the Mestalla.

Jonas
GettyImagesJonas celebrates for Valencia

Jonas Oliveira opened the scoring early on and, after Betis had lost Jose Antonio Dorado to a straight red card just before the hour, Valencia wrapped up the victory with goals from Sofiane Feghouli, Roberto Soldado and Pablo Piatti.

To complete a miserable night for Betis, they also had Jorge Molina sent off late on for protesting.

The triumph sees Los Che move four points clear of fourth-placed Malaga.

Two goals in two second-half minutes from Arda Turan guided Atletico Madrid to a comfortable 3-1 win over Espanyol.

Diego Godin had headed the hosts in front inside 10 minutes but Didac Vila replied for Espanyol with a fine finish shortly afterwards.

Arda restored Atletico's lead just before the hour mark with a stunning overhead kick and the Turkish midfielder extended the lead moments later as his left-footed shot crept past Cristian Alvarez at his near post.

An early goal from Gaizka Toquero sent Racing Santander one step closer to relegation while lifting Athletic Bilbao back into the European places.

Toquero got the only goal in the 12th minute to leave Racing 11 points from safety with four games left to go, while Athletic go up to sixth place.

The result was perhaps harsh on Racing who created plenty of chances but, in keeping with a record that has seen them score only nine goals in 18 home matches, they could not find a breakthrough.

Carlos Vela's spectacular overhead-kick five minutes from time handed Real Sociedad a point from an entertaining 1-1 draw with Villarreal.

The visitors dominated for long spells in the first half and took the lead three minutes before the break as Marcos Senna fired in off the post from just inside the area.

Sociedad then had Claudio Bravo to thank as the Chilean keeper denied Marco Ruben and Cani to keep his side in the game after waves of attacks from the hosts.

The equaliser eventually arrived as Vela acrobatically turned in Xabi Prieto's header for his fifth goal in his last five games.

Granada took a significant step towards survival as they secured a 1-0 victory over Getafe - their first win in four games - to move eight points clear of the relegation zone.

Franco Jara put the hosts in front after 18 minutes as he latched onto Carlos Martins' great through ball and calmly slotted past Miguel Angel Moya.

Getafe only really had one clear-cut chance to get level when Inigo Lopez's slip allowed Diego Castro to stride through on goal, but he went for power rather than accuracy and sent his shot just wide.