Villa puts Valencia back on top in Spanish Liga

September 29th, 2008 - 12:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, Sep 29 (DPA) Valencia regained top spot in the Spanish Liga with a 4-2 come-from-behind thrashing of Deportivo Coruna.Once again, Valencia’s hero was Euro 2008 top scorer David Villa, who netted twice in Sunday’s win and is now the league’s top marksman with six.

The impressive win leaves Unai Emery’s team level on 13 points with Villarreal - who beat bottom team Sporting Gijon Saturday - but with a superior goal difference.

Valencia had to show their character and dig deep when they fell behind after just 12 minutes, when Emiliano Moretti clumsily turned a Pablo Alvarez centre into his own goal.

The promising Juan Mata levelled for the hosts in the 35th minute by heading in a perfect centre from Joaquin Sanchez, one of several Valencia players who have rediscovered their form this season.

Villa made it 2-1 five minutes into the second half with a handsome solo goal. In the 69th minute, Villa set up Joaquin for the third goal, and 13 minutes later Mata set up Villa to complete the rout.

Angel Lafita scored a controversial consolation goal for Deportivo at the end, but it was too little, too late to spoil the fiesta in Mestalla.

“We were really good tonight,” said Joaquin, “and we should really have scored more goals.”

Valencia and Villarreal are just one point ahead of defending champions Real Madrid, who scored a 2-1 win Saturday at lowly Betis.

In fourth place on 11 points are Sevilla, 1-0 winners at Atletico Madrid in Sunday’s late match. Sevilla were far superior to turgid Atletico, who turned in their worst performance of the season so far.

The only goal was a handsome free-kick from Luis Fabiano in the 21st minute, which left Atletico keeper Gregory Coupet with no chance. Sevilla should have added to their lead in the second half.

Their second defeat pulls Atletico down to seventh place on nine points.

Barcelona and Almeria share fifth place with 10 points each. Barca scored a late win of their own on Saturday, 2-1 against crosstown rivals Espanyol.

Almeria also left it late, beating defensive Recreativo Huelva 1-0 with an Alvaro Negredo goal five minutes into injury time.

“We just about deserved this,” said Negredo, “because we never stopped looking for a goal, whilst they seemed happy with a draw.”

Two other teams who scored late wins Sunday were Getafe and Mallorca. Getafe won 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao thanks to a late strike from veteran Francisco Casquero. Mallorca, for their part, won 2-1 in Santander on an 85th-minute goal from Pierre Webo.

Ivan Marcano had given Santander an early lead, only for Fernando Varela to level for Mallorca just before half-time.

Malaga, meanwhile, scored their first win, 2-1 over Valladolid.

Sunday’s other early game was a colourless 0-0 draw between Numancia and Osasuna. Gijon stay bottom with zero points, then come Santander and Betis on two. Malaga, Huelva, Numancia and Osasuna all have four points.

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