La Liga

Villarreal eases relegation concerns

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Villarreal eased their relegation fears and all almost certainly consigned Sporting Gijon to the Segunda Division with a 3-2 win at El Molinon in a match which saw both home coach Javier Clemente and substitute Villarreal goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez sent off.

The visitors started brightly and were handed a deserved lead on 19 minutes when Mario Gaspar slotted home Bruno's cut-back after the midfielder's first effort had been saved by Juan Pablo.

Sporting were level 20 minutes later thanks to Alberto Lora's stunning long-range strike that crept inside Diego Lopez's left hand post, but the hosts were only level for four minutes as Arnolin Gregory stupidly brought down Marco Ruben inside the area and Marcos Senna smashed home the resulting penalty.

Hernan Perez made it 3-1 with a similar strike to Lora's 10 minutes into the second half and despite a late rally from Sporting after Alejandro Galvez had halved the deficit with five minutes remaining, they could not salvage the point they needed to have any realistic chance of staying up.

The hosts had come into the game on the back of three wins in four games which had allowed them to cut the gap on the Yellow Submarine to four points, but they were shaken by a positive start form Miguel Angel Lotina's men.

Bruno had two efforts comfortably collected by Juan Pablo inside the first 15 minutes before Ruben just could not direct Perez's fine cross on target.

Villarreal did eventually make the breakthrough though when Bruno again found himself in an advanced position and he kept his composure well after squandering the first opportunity to tee the ball up for Mario to fire in his first goal of the season.

Sporting then went in search of the equaliser but were not looking like finding a way through until Lora unloaded a bullet of a shot from fully 30 yards low into the corner of the net.


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That should have been enough to see the hosts go in level at the break but they hit the self-destruct button just moments later as Damian Suarez's scuffed clearance allowed Ruben to run into the area and Gregory's desperate challenge was rightly punished by Carlos Del Cerro Grande. Senna confidently stepped up and gave Pablo no chance with his penalty as he struck it high into the top corner of the net.

Pablo did though do brilliantly to briefly keep his side in the game just after the break as wonderful close control from Borja Valero saw him skip past two defenders and lay the ball back for Perez but his shot was turned onto the post brilliantly by the Sporting keeper.

Within 60 seconds however the upright had been kinder to the Paraguayan as this time his rasping effort cannoned off the post and into the net to make it 3-1.

The home side then had to throw caution to the wind but Lopez was only forced into one great save from Formose Mendy before Villarreal gifted the hosts a lifeline when Cristian Zapata's miscued header set up Galvez to sweep home five minutes from time.

However, Clemente's men could not find an equaliser and the game ended amidst lost tempers on the sidelines as both the Sporting boss and Villarreal substitute keeper Sanchez were sent off.

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