June 28, 2020 / 5:12 PM / 7 days ago

Eibar open up gap on bottom three, Villarreal beat Valencia

(Reuters) - Eibar edged closer to La Liga survival by beating Granada 2-1 away on Sunday and further diminishing the hopes of the current bottom three sides of staying up.

Kike Garcia struck the winning goal in the 69th minute to restore Eibar’s lead after Granada forward Roberto Soldado had cancelled out Pablo de Blasis’ opening goal, giving the Basques only their second victory on the road this season.

Eibar started the day in the final spot outside the relegation zone but the win took them up to 15th on 35 points, nine above the relegation zone with six matches left.

The result means that third-bottom Real Mallorca are eight points from the safety zone, while 19th-placed Leganes are nine adrift and bottom side Espanyol 10.

Levante effectively sealed their top-flight status with a thumping 4-2 win at home to Real Betis to move up to 12th on 41 points. Betis were left 13th on 37, 11 above the bottom three.

Villarreal beat neighbours Valencia 2-0 with a pair of brilliant volleyed goals in the first half to boost their chances of a top-four finish, while further crushing their rivals hopes of returning to the Champions League.

Former Valencia forward Paco Alcacer opened the scoring with a superb volley on the turn in the 14th minute but opted against celebrating against the club where he began his career.

Alcacer’s strike partner Gerard Moreno scored an even better goal to double the lead in the 44th, as goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo launched the ball upfield and Santi Cazorla controlled it in the air with an irresistible touch before Moreno’s ferocious volley.

Villarreal are among the top three form teams in the league since the season returned after the three-month new coronavirus stoppage and this was their fourth victory since the restart, a record matched only by Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.

The result took them up to fifth on 51 points, within three of fourth-placed Sevilla with six games remaining in the season.

“If we keep playing like we are at the moment we can compete with anyone,” said goalscorer Alcacer.

By contrast, Valencia have picked up just four points since the campaign resumed and were left eighth in the table on 46, while they are without an away win in the league since December.

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ken Ferris

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