Villarreal beat neighbours Valencia 2-0 on Sunday with a pair of brilliant volleyed goals in the first half to boost their chances of a top-four finish, whilst further crushing their rivals hopes of returning to the Champions League.
The win took Villarreal up to fifth on 51 points, within three of fourth-placed Sevilla with six games remaining in the season
Former Valencia forward Paco Alcacer opened the scoring with a superb volley on the turn in the 14th minute but opted against celebrating against the club where he began his career.
Alcacer’s strike partner Gerard Moreno scored an even better goal to double the lead in the 44th, as goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo launched the ball upfield and Santi Cazorla controlled it in the air with an irresistible touch before Moreno’s ferocious volley.
Villarreal are among the top three form teams in the league since the season returned after the three-month new coronavirus stoppage and this was their fourth victory since the restart, a record matched only by Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.
The result took them up to fifth on 51 points, within three of fourth-placed Sevilla with six games remaining in the season.
“If we keep playing like we are at the moment we can compete with anyone,” said goalscorer Alcacer.
“We’re not putting any pressure on ourselves, all we can do is go into every game with the same attitude we showed today and try and take the team as high as we can.”
By contrast, Valencia have picked up just four points since the campaign resumed and were left eighth in the table on 46, while they are without an away win in the league since December.
Also on Sunday, Levante effectively sealed their top-flight status with a thumping 4-2 win at home to Real Betis to move up to 12th on 41 points, 15 clear of the relegation zone.
Betis were left 13th on 37, 11 above the bottom three.
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