Valencia Thrash Osasuna To Stay In Champions League Hunt

by
Reuters
Valencia stayed in the hunt for a Champions League berth with a thumping 4-0 win at home to nine-man Osasuna but Malaga's hopes of a return to Europe's elite club competition faded when they lost 1-0 at Granada in La Liga on Saturday.

Valencia stayed in the hunt for a Champions League berth with a thumping 4-0 win at home to nine-man Osasuna but Malaga's hopes of a return to Europe's elite club competition faded when they lost 1-0 at Granada in La Liga on Saturday.

Valencia striker Roberto Soldado started the rout at the Mestalla in the 39th minute when he netted the rebound from a Jonas shot and Ricardo Costa nodded a second for the home side a minute before halftime.

Osasuna defender Alejandro Arribas was shown a straight red card in the 58th minute when he felled Soldado as he bore down on goal and Ever Banega stroked the resulting free kick in off the underside of the crossbar.

Osasuna's miserable afternoon was completed when David Timor picked up a second yellow card 15 minutes from time and Jonas made it 4-0 from the penalty spot in the fourth minute of stoppage time after a handball in the area.

Valencia are fifth on 56 points from 34 of 38 matches, two behind Real Sociedad, who occupy Spain's fourth and final Champions League spot and play at Getafe on Monday.

After outperforming on their Champions League debut by reaching the quarter-finals this season, Malaga's defeat leaves them in sixth, three points behind Valencia and four ahead of Real Betis, who play at leaders Barcelona on Sunday.

Fifth and sixth earns an automatic place in the Europa League, the continent's second-tier club competition.

Odion Ighalo scored the winner for Granada in the Andalusian derby in the 28th minute when he cleverly diverted an Allan Nyom cross into the net past Malaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero.

The victory lifted them to 15th on 35 points, two ahead of Osasuna in 16th.

Barca have an 11-point lead over last season's champions Real Madrid in second and need five points from their remaining five games to secure a fourth title in five years.

If Real fail to beat Real Valladolid at home later on Saturday, a Barca victory against Betis would be enough as they would be at least 13 points ahead with only 12 left to play for.