La Liga wrap: Five-star Valencia rout Villarreal
Valencia won the battle between third and fourth in La Liga with a 5-0 thrashing of Villarreal at Estadio Mestalla.Hosts Valencia led from the 13th minute of Sunday’s match through a goal from striker Roberto Soldado.
But they had to wait until 11 minutes into the second half to double the advantage through attacking midfielder Juan Mata.
The second goal cued a collapse from the visitors, with Argentina midfielder Ever Benega making it 3-0 five minutes later.
Mata and Soldado both struck again in the space of a minute to complete the rout at 5-0.
The win sees Valencia stay third, but they are now just six points clear of fourth-placed Villarreal.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Atletico Madrid closed in on a Europa League qualification place with a 3-0 win at home to Real Sociedad.
First-half goals from Brazilian full-back Kasmirski Luis Filipe and midfielder Mario Suarez saw Atletico go into the break 2-0 up at Estadio Vicente Calderon.
Argentina forward Sergio Aguero added a third with 13 minutes remaining.
The victory sees Atletico climb to sixth place on the table.
Sociedad are 14th, five points above the relegation places.
A second-half strike from centre-forward Torres David Barral helped Sporting Gijon to a 1-0 win over Osasuna.
Racing Santander led against Levante courtesy of a Victoriano Nano own goal, but Ruiz Rafa Jorda struck in the last minute to grab a point for the visitors at El Sardinero.
Two of the bottom three sides gained a point with 0-0 draws at home.
Hercules are third from bottom after holding seventh-placed Espanyol goalless at Estadio Jose Rico Perez, while second-bottom Malaga also played out a stalemate against visitors Deportivo La Coruna.
Depor were a man down for the entire second half after defender Sanabria Ruiz Laure received a straight red card in the 45th minute at La Rosaleda.