Real Sociedad‘s promising playmaker Ruben Pardo set up three goals to mastermind a 5-1 rout of bottom side Real Betis.
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Sociedad may have flopped out of the Champions League, but has found its form in the domestic competition where it has won six of its last eight games and climbed into sixth place and the Europa League positions.
The hosts overwhelmed Betis on the league debut of coach Juan Carlos Garrido, who replaced the fired Pepe Mel. The Seville-based side is now winless in the last nine rounds.
Pardo passed for two goals by striker Imanol Agirretxe and another from defender Jon Ansotegi. Antoine Griezmann scored his 10th goal in the league this season, leaving him third overall behind Diego Costa and Ronaldo. Xabi Prieto rounded out the victory.
”It’s clear this is the way we need keep playing to go forward and not relax at any moment,” said the 21-year-old Pardo, who was given an ovation when substituted late. ”Everyone loves being applauded and for people to scream your name, but I am staying calm. I need to keep working to please our fans and, above all, help the team.”
Athletic Bilbao drew 1-1 at Sevilla to remain in fourth place and the last Champions League spot, but eight points adrift of Madrid.
Almeria settled for a 0-0 draw at home against Espanyol after its coach was ejected from the dugouts and Jose ”Verza” Garcia missed a penalty he had to repeat in the first half.
Verza missed a 23rd-minute penalty he had to repeat after Almeria teammate Oscar Diaz had entered the area during his first attempt, which he converted.
Almeria coach Francisco Rodriguez was ejected during a scuffle between both teams near the dugouts in the 32nd.