Villa brace helps Valencia extend home run

BARCELONA: Spanish international striker David Villa scored twice to keep Valencia on course for a Champions League place as they beat Getafe 2-1 despite being reduced to 10 men on Monday.

Valencia -- who are in third place in the table eight points clear of fifth placed Deportivo La Coruna -- recorded their fourth successive home victory and deserved three points despite never being at their best. Alejandro Dominguez twice went close to giving Valencia the lead before Villa struck after 39 minutes.

Villa appeared to have wrapped the game up with his second after the re-start to move to the top of the goalscoring charts with 17 for the season. However, the game took a twist with the sending off of defender Alexis Ruano for a second yellow card although there looked to be little if any contact. Manu Del Moral pulled a goal back for Getafe but for all their pressing they were unable to get the equaliser.

Valencia coach Unai Emery accepted that Villa's clinical finishing had been the difference between two fairly evenly-matched sides. "It was a game in which Getafe created openings but our finishing was crucial to the result," said Emery. "When we play, we are concentrated on that game and not speculating about the following ones. Barcelona and Real Madrid are a long way ahead of us and so realistically we have to look at third place."

His Getafe counterpart Miguel Gonzalez saw good aspects from his side's performance but generally he was disappointed. "I cannot feel good about the result because we haven't been able to pick up any points but we did dominate possession and our problem was that we did not press forward enough," he said.

On Sunday, Real Madrid showed their championship credentials with a 6-2 destruction of Villarreal that put them back on the shoulders of Barcelona at the top of the table. Despite missing several key players, Barcelona cruised to a 4-0 win over Racing Santander on Saturday. Sevilla hold the fourth Champions League spot after they condemned Mallorca to their first home defeat of the season as they ran out 3-1 winners also on Saturday.