Tue, May 03, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Villarreal keep the pressure on Valencia

AFP, MADRID

Villarreal’s Giuseppe Rossi celebrates after scoring the winning goal against Getafe during their La Liga match at El Madrigal in Castellon, Spain, on Sunday.

Photo: EPA

Italian striker Giuseppe Rossi scored his 18th league goal of the season as Villarreal put their midweek Europa League disappointment behind them with a 2-1 comeback win over Getafe at El Madrigal on Sunday.

Rossi scored a 74th-minute winner that keeps alive Villarreal’s hopes of finishing third — and claiming a Champions League place — with the victory moving the club to within three points of third-placed Valencia, who fell to a 1-0 defeat to Osasuna.

Alvaro Cejudo scored a 59th-minute winner to lift Osasuna out of the bottom three as Valencia crashed to successive defeats.

Villarreal arrived on the back of a 5-1 drubbing by Porto in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final and fell behind to a Pedro Rios goal on 31 minutes, but Ruben Cani equalized for the hosts on the hour mark with a fine strike after a quick pass from Santi Cazorla.

Former Manchester United man Rossi then put Villarreal ahead on 74 minutes, heading in Marco Ruben’s center for his 18th goal of a stellar campaign.

Getafe finished a best-ever sixth last season, but Osasuna’s win over Valencia sees them drop into the bottom three with four games left.

Brazilian midfielder Renato scored a second-half winner as Sevilla moved back up to fifth with a 1-0 win at 10-man Almeria.

Substitute Renato struck on 57 minutes to down strugglers Almeria and help Sevilla enhance their European hopes, moving them above Atletico Madrid courtesy of their superior head-to-head record.

Almeria reached the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey for the first time in their history this season, but prop up the table and the Sevilla defeat leaves them virtually relegated, with the club 12 points from safety with four games left. Almeria only avoid mathematical relegation because of their superior head-to-head record over Osasuna and Deportivo La Coruna.

The game hinged on the dismissal of Almeria’s Danish fullback Michael Jakobsen for a crude challenge on Martin Caceres in the 52nd minute. The Uruguayan defender was stretchered off injured.

Five minutes later, Renato headed in the opening goal for Sevilla, who held on despite a late fightback from the hosts.

Elsewhere, Malaga took a giant stride toward safety with a 3-1 home win over 10-man Hercules.

Malaga came from behind to record a third straight victory and move two points clear of the relegation zone, while Hercules stay second from bottom, five points from safety.

Paraguayan striker Nelson Valdes headed Hercules into a third minute lead, but Malaga responded when Brazilian Julio Baptista equalized 60 seconds later.

Jose Rondon put Malaga ahead on 72 minutes, before former Real Madrid man Baptista grabbed his second three minutes later to wrap up the points.

Racing Santander moved three points clear of the drop zone with a 2-0 home win over Real Mallorca thanks to first-half goals from Markus Rosenberg and Kennedy Bakircioglu.

In the mid-table clash, Levante and Sporting Gijon drew 0-0.

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