Sociedad, Villarreal win to stay in hunt for European title


Sat, Mar 29, 2014 - Page 18

Real Sociedad beat Real Valladolid 1-0 while Villarreal held on for a 1-0 win at Getafe in the Spanish league, both victors staying in the hunt on Thursday for a place in European competition next season.

Sociedad remained in sixth place with Villarreal a point behind in seventh, both in Europa League spots and in striking distance of fourth place and the final Champions League berth.

Sociedad forward Carlos Vela chipped goalkeeper Jaime Jimenez after receiving an equally exquisite lobbed pass from Ruben Pardo to set him up in the 23rd minute at Anoeta Stadium. It was Vela’s 12th goal in league play this campaign.

“The truth is we didn’t play a good game, but we won,” said Sociedad coach Jagoba Arrasate, whose team struggled to control possession in the second half and had to rely on goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to secure the three points by denying Carlos Pena in the 57th.

“We have players capable of doing things like that great goal, and that makes everything easier,” Arrasate said.

Jeremy Perbet slotted Villarreal’s winner in the fifth after he received the ball with his back to the goal and deftly turned to shoot around his marker.

Villarreal squandered several more chances before Getafe made a late push, but failed to get the equalizing goal.

The defeats to Getafe and Valladolid left them in the relegation zone.

Also, last-place Real Betis Balompie won 3-1 at Levante to earn their first away victory in league play after 14 winless visits this season.

The long-awaited road win left Betis seven points from safety with eight rounds to be played.

UD Almeria overcame Seydou Keita’s goal just seven seconds into the match to fight back for a 2-2 draw at home with Valencia.

Valencia and Levante UD stayed in the middle of the standings, while Almeria inched two points from the drop.

Atletico Madrid lead the league by one point over Barcelona. Real Madrid was in third, three points behind the pacesetter.

RCD Espanyol are scheduled to play Barcelona today.