A spectacular lob from the halfway-line by Ruben Cani helped Villarreal to a 4-2 victory over Osasuna on Saturday, keeping them in third place in La Liga and maintaining their push for a place in Europe.
Villarreal went into the game with several important players missing, but Marco Ruben took advantage of a rare start by scoring the opening goal. Osasuna drew level from a corner, with Krisztian Vadocz heading home, but they were soon behind again when Cani spotted goalkeeper Ricardo Lopez off his line and lofted the ball from the halfway-line over his head.
In an exciting end-to-end game, Joan Capdevila and Gonzalo Rodriguez scored further goals for Villarreal, with substitute Javier Calleja finding the back of the net in between for the visitors.
“We have played a lot of games and to maintain this level is not easy. We have managed it as a team by suffering and fighting in each game. This match was tough and to win without playing particularly well gives you a boost,” Villarreal coach Juan Carlos Garrido said.
Osasuna coach Jose Antonio Camacho admitted that Cani’s goal was a big blow.
“I told the ’keeper to push forward a bit and they caught us out. We now need to keep working, but we have to do more than that to win as we are working hard at the moment,” Camacho said.
A brace from Jose Callejon gave Espanyol a 2-1 win over Sevilla, putting them on the verge of the Champions League places, but the real star was goalkeeper Carlos Kameni.
Sevilla’s form has improved since Christmas and they dominated from the start, but they could not find a way past the Cameroon ’keeper. Kameni showed his dexterity to parry headers from Luis Fabiano and Frederic Kanoute, and then Sevilla were made to pay for their profligate finishing when Callejon scored from a breakaway.
The Espanyol forward found the back of the net a second time against the run of play after the break, while Kameni was finally beaten by substitute Alvaro Negredo in stoppage-time.
Early goals from Javi Martinez and Iker Muniain set Athletic Bilbao up for a 2-1 victory over Racing Santander.
More clinical finishing from the home side proved the difference as Racing Santander had plenty of possession, but struggled in front of goal. Pedro Munitis rounded goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz, but shot over the cross bar, while Kennedy hit the woodwork with a fine long-range shot, before Ivan Bolado earned Racing a consolation.
Real Sociedad bounced back from four straight defeats with a convincing 4-0 win away to in-form Getafe.
Xabi Prieto sent them on their way from the penalty spot after nine minutes and then Antoine Griezmann and a Mikel Aranburu double secured the win.
Real Zaragoza came out on top 1-0 in the relegation scrap against Levante, with Gabi Fernandez scoring the key goal, while David Barral and Nacho Cases gave Sporting Gijon a 2-0 win over Hercules.
Kamaru Usman put on a Fight Island masterclass yesterday to retain his UFC welterweight world title by grinding down a brave Jorge Masvidal in Abu Dhabi. “I’m at the top of the mountain and everyone’s looking at me,” said the 33-year-old Usman after scoring a unanimous points decision 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 on the three judges’ cards. The Nigerian-American Usman (17-1) looked the fresher fighter, with Masvidal (35-14) having taken the UFC251 headline bout at just six days’ notice when Brazil’s Gilbert Burns (19-3) tested positive for COVID-19 and was unable to travel. The Las Vegas-based UFC pulled off a power-packed schedule with
Taipower on Sunday charged to their third straight win and took over first place in the Taiwan Football Premier League as previous leaders Taichung Futuro suffered their first defeat of the season, while Hang Yuan rallied from two goals down to complete a thrilling 3-2 victory over National Taiwan University of Sport (NTUS). Heading into the 10th round of matches, unbeaten Taichung Futuro led the league with 21 points, but they fell to their first defeat of the season, a 1-0 loss to Tatung at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung. In a match in which both defenses were on top and there
Thailand international Pitsamai Sornsai, a new arrival for Inter Taoyuan, is to lead her team against Taipei Bravo tomorrow in the 10th round of the Taiwan Mulan Football League. Sornsai, who is nicknamed Pui, has attracted interest from media and fans as the first foreigner signed to play in Taiwan’s women’s league. Inter are among six teams battling for the title this year. The addition of Sornsai is a boost for the international profile of women’s soccer in Taiwan and elevates the competition. The 31-year-old brings a wealth of experience, including from the Asian Football Confederation’s Women’s Championship, the Southeast Asian Games and
HOTSHOT: Luis Suarez scored his 194th goal for Barca, tying him with Ladislao Kubala as the club’s third-highest scorer, behind Cesar Rodriguez and Lionel Messi With another decisive penalty from Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid on Sunday extended their perfect run after the COVID-19 suspension and moved closer to their first Spanish title in three years. Ramos scored his fifth goal since the season resumed as Madrid defeated Athletic Bilbao 1-0 to maintain a four-point lead over Barcelona, who beat fifth-placed Villarreal 4-1. Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann were among the scorers for Barcelona after assists from Lionel Messi. Ramos converted a 73rd-minute penalty to give Madrid their seventh straight victory and they remain the only team with a perfect record since La Liga resumed. “These three points are very