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Villa brace helps Valencia stretch lead

October 20, 2008 09:44 IST

David Villa [Images] made it eight goals from seven games with a brace in Valencia's 4-0 hammering of promoted Numancia, that put them clear at the top of the Primera Liga on Sunday.

The Spain striker, who has also bagged five for the European champions in World Cup qualifying, netted after only five minutes at the Mestalla.

He then helped set up the second for Juan Mata midway through the second half, and after substitute Vicente had made it 3-0, Villa stole a fourth at the end.

"At 1-0 Numancia had their chances and the difference between the sides was simply effectiveness in front of goal," said Valencia coach Unai Emery.

"In footballing terms the difference wasn't that great. There is room for improvement." The side stretched their unbeaten start to seven and they lead the standings with 19 points, two ahead of Sevilla and Villarreal.

Local rivals Villarreal were held to a 0-0 draw at Espanyol on Saturday, while Sevilla climbed above them on goal difference thanks to a 1-0 victory at Almeria in Sunday's late game.

Brazilian midfielder Adriano Correia volleyed the only goal, though it took a hefty deflection off Almeria's Chico on its way into the net. Sevilla have gone five league games without conceding.

INTENSE AFFAIR

Barcelona are fourth with 16 points after Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o scored a great goal to give them a 1-0 win against Athletic Bilbao in a typically intense affair at San Mames.

In the 63rd minute, Thierry Henry [Images] laid on the pass for Eto'o who burst past his marker to smash the ball into the net.

Barca had Victor Valdes to thank for some important saves as Pep Guardiola's outfit made it five consecutive wins.

Having rested both Lionel Messi [Images] and Xavi, Guardiola said: "If we had lost, everyone would have said we depend on Xavi and Messi. My players have proved they are a tight unit that depends on no one."

Champions Real Madrid [Images] are fifth with an inferior goal difference to Barca, after a last-gasp penalty earned them a 2-1 away win in Saturday's city derby against Atletico Madrid.

Real Betis hauled themselves off the foot of the standings and eased the pressure on coach Paco Chaparro with their first victory of the season, beating Real Mallorca 3-0 at home.

Promoted Sporting Gijon spoiled Jose Antonio Camacho's debut as new coach of struggling Osasuna, sending the visiting Navarrans to a 2-1 defeat.


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