Rodrigo, Zaza send Valencia third in Spain


Madrid (AFP) – Rodrigo and Simone Zaza scored for Valencia in a 3-1 win over Alaves on Saturday that lifted them above defending champions Real Madrid and into third place in La Liga.

Italy international Zaza teed up Rodrigo to open the scoring on 19 minutes at Mestalla as the latter found the net for the fourth time in three games.

Zaza doubled the advantage just past the half hour when he bundled in a cross for his 12th goal of the season, but Ruben Sobrino cut the deficit for Alaves early in the second half.

An own goal from centre-back Victor Laguardia on 54 minutes sealed a sixth league win in seven for Marcelino’s Valencia, who climbed two points above Real ahead of their home game against Girona on Sunday.

Deportivo La Coruna and Las Palmas remain mired in deep trouble in the relegation zone following a 1-1 draw.

Former Barcelona starlet Alen Halilovic fired Las Palmas ahead after just three minutes in northwest Spain, but hosts Deportivo levelled through Raul Albentosa.

The result favoured neither side with Deportivo’s winless run stretching to 14 matches and leaving them seven points from safety, while Las Palmas are six points adrift of 17th-placed Levante.

Leaders Barcelona host Athletic Bilbao on Sunday as second-placed Atletico Madrid, who are eight points behind, travel to Villarreal.

Sevilla, fresh off their shock elimination of Manchester United in the Champions League last 16, return to domestic duty away to Leganes.

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