MADRID - Valencia tightened their grip on
third spot in la Liga and an automatic Champions League berth
when new signing Jonas came off the bench to secure a 2-1
comeback victory at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
Fourth-placed Villarreal twice came from behind to rescue a
2-2 draw at Racing Santander and Valencia's victory stretched
their lead over their local rivals to four points with 25
Valencia have 51 points, 10 behind second-placed Real
Madrid, who slipped seven behind leaders Barcelona when they
were held to a 0-0 draw at Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.
World Player of the Year Lionel Messi netted a rare header
to set Barca on their way to a 3-0 win at Real Mallorca and lift
the champions to 68 points.
At a typically boisterous San Mames, Bilbao looked set to
end a run of two straight defeats when Spain striker Fernando
Llorente put the home side ahead in the 14th minute.
However, Llorente's international team-mate Juan Mata
levelled in the 71st after good work from winger Joaquin before
Brazilian Jonas pounced on the rebound from a Tino Costa shot to
grab the winner with around 10 minutes left.
Villarreal, with their distinctive canary-yellow strip, had
earlier failed to build on their Europa League victory over
Serie A side Napoli.
Juan Carlos Garrido's side have not won in their last four
league games, losing twice and drawing 1-1 at home to bottom
Racing, meanwhile, are undefeated since Indian businessman
Ahsan Ali Syed completed his takeover of the club at the end of
January and stayed in 12th on 29 points, five clear of the
They took the lead at a festive Sardinero stadium in the
third minute when burly forward Ariel tapped in from close
range, sparking wild celebrations from Ali Syed in the stands.
Villarreal's woes were compounded when Garrido was sent from
the bench early in the second half but they grabbed an equaliser
in the 66th via Marco Ruben's header.
Racing substitute Giovani Dos Santos struck a superb goal
two minutes later when he raced on to a Pedro Munitis pass and
directed a low shot past Diego Lopez before striker Nilmar
bundled home for the visitors in added-time.
The new season is but six weeks away (in the Football League)
Toon upheaval continues in style
Spurs move for former England assistant manager
Youngster has been linked with Premier League big guns
Who would you rather have playing for your club?
12 months out, the stars look to the World Cup
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
Adidas Nitrocharge for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010