Real Sociedad, Villarreal win to stay in European hunt next season

Villarreal's Jeremy Perbet scored his side's winner against Getafe.

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BARCELONA, Spain — Real Sociedad beat Valladolid 1-0 while Villarreal held on for a 1-0 win at Getafe in the Spanish league, both victors staying in the hunt on Thursday for a place in European competition next season.

Sociedad remained in sixth place with Villarreal a point behind in seventh, both in Europa League spots and in striking distance of fourth place and the final Champions League berth.

Getafe and Valladolid were left in the relegation zone along with bottom side Real Betis, which played Levante late while Valencia visited Almeria.

Sociedad forward Carlos Vela chipped goalkeeper Jaime Jimenez after receiving an equally exquisite lobbed pass from Ruben Pardo to set him up in the 23rd minute at Anoeta Stadium.

The former Arsenal forward struck midway through the first half with a smart finish, punishing the visitors for having more of the ball but failing to create chances.

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Martinez’s side got more sights of goal in the second half but were unable to take advantage, slumping to a second consecutive defeat that keeps them second bottom of the Primera Division.

Jeremy Perbet’s early strike proved sufficient to earn Villarreal all the points from their trip to relegation-threatened Getafe. Perbet fired home in the fifth minute as the visitors ended a run of four matches without a win to reignite their faltering push for the European berths.

The 1-0 reverse leaves Getafe coach Cosmin Contra still searching for his first win since taking charge a fortnight ago. After opening his tenure with an entertaining 3-3 draw with Granada, Thursday’s loss was a second in succession for the new man – having gone down 1-0 to Athletic Bilbao at the weekend – and leaves the club still mired in the bottom three.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.