Villarreal back on top after turning tables on hapless Betis

October 5th, 2008 - 4:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, Oct 5 (DPA) Villarreal went back on top of the Spanish Liga, albeit temporarily, with a come-from-behind 2-1 home win over lowly Betis.Manuel Pellgrini’s talented team had to show their resilience and character to turn the tables on a Betis side that looked lively - but failed to build on their lead Saturday.

Unbeaten Villarreal - making their best ever start - now have 16 points from six games, three points more than Valencia, who will go back on top on goal difference if they win in Valladolid Sunday.

Villarreal made a sluggish start, as if Tuesday’s hard-fought Champions League defeat of Glasgow Celtic had left them weary.

Damia Abella shot Betis ahead in the 21st minute, on a clever from left-winger Mark Gonzalez.

The visitors continued to dominate, but wasted good chances to score what could have been a crucial second goal.

In the 69th minute, Villarreal levelled with an Argentine-flavoured goal, defender Gonzalo Rodriguez heading in a precise free-kick from little playmaker Ariel Ibagaza.

Betis were against the ropes, and just two minutes later Joseba Exteberria made it 2-1 from close range after Robert Pires had mis-hit a volley.

“We should really have scored a second goal,” said Betis captain Capi, “that was how things started to go wrong.”

The latest defeat leaves Betis third from bottom with just two points.

“They made things difficult for us,” said Villarreal’s Javi Venta.

“But we did better in the second half, and took our chances well.”

Later Saturday, in-form Barcelona are at home to Atletico Madrid, in a game billed as a duel between Argentine starlets Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero.

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