Tue, Apr 07, 2009 - Page 18 News List

LFP : Valencia aiming for top four finish

AFP , BARCELONA, SPAIN

Espanyol’s Nico Pareja, center, and goalkeeper Kameni, right, battle for the ball against Deportivo La Coruna’s Joan Vedu during their La Liga match at the Lluis Companys Stadium in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Valencia set their sights on a top-four La Liga finish and a Champions League spot on Sunday after brushing aside struggling Getafe 4-1.

They are now just two points off fourth-placed Villarreal thanks to two penalties by David Villa in either half and strikes from Juan Mata and Raul Albiol.

Getafe’s goal also came from a spot-kick, with Francisco Casquero converting at the start of the second half, but they were never able to cause any sustained danger to Valencia’s makeshift defense missing Carlos Marchena and Alexis Ruano.

“We still have a long way to go in order to make up for the points that we have dropped this season and so two wins does not make everything OK,” Valencia coach Unai Emery said. “But we are satisfied with the game though and we need to keep going.”

It has been a good weekend for Valencia with all the teams around them losing ground in the battle for European places.

Atletico Madrid’s inconsistency continued as they crashed to a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Osasuna.

Walter Pandiani gave the away side the lead after just seven minutes and while Diego Forlan equalized, Osasuna took full advantage of Atletico’s defensive frailties. Krisztian Vadocz restored their lead and then, after the break, Pandiani scored again. Masoud Shojaei piled on the misery for the home side, who pulled back a consolation through Pablo Ibanez.

“It was a very bad game and we were never in control, maybe it was because we were too anxious. We have found it difficult against supposedly weaker teams and it shouldn’t be like that,” Atletico coach Abel Resino said. “Without making it into an excuse though, the crowd have shown no backing to some players.”

At the other end of the table, Espanyol boosted their survival hopes with a 3-1 win over Deportivo La Coruna.

Ivan Alonso pounced to put the Catalans ahead after the Deportivo keeper spilled an Ivan de la Pena cross and then the diminutive midfielder, who was controlling the contest, doubled the lead. Lassad Nouioui pulled a goal back and Depor had chances to level the game, but an own-goal by Albert Lopo in injury-time secured the win.

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