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Rediff.com  » Sports » La Liga: Bilbao halt 10-man Villarreal's surge

La Liga: Bilbao halt 10-man Villarreal's surge

October 22, 2013 09:47 IST

Athletic Bilbao checked promoted Villarreal's impressive early-season run when they beat the team with the distinctive canary-yellow strip 2-0 at their new San Mames stadium in La Liga on Monday.

Villarreal were already two goals down when captain Bruno Soriano, one of Spain's most elegant midfielders, was harshly shown a second yellow card in first-half stoppage time.

Mikel Rico of Athletic BilbaoMidfielder Mikel Rico had put Bilbao ahead with a 33rd-minute header and forward Aritz Aduriz ended a barren spell with his first of the campaign when he punished a defensive howler from Mateo Musacchio two minutes later.

Bilbao, who have struggled on the road but have now won four and drawn one at the San Mames, climbed to sixth on 16 points from nine games, while Villarreal, who held Real Madrid to a 2-2 draw at their Madrigal arena last month, stay fourth on 17.

"We have put ourselves in a good position and what we need to do now is to get some positive away results," Bilbao captain Andoni Iraola said in an interview with Spanish television broadcaster Cuatro.

"We are feeling fantastic here at home and are delighted with the new stadium," he added.

Celta Vigo's earlier game at home to Levante was disrupted by torrential rain sweeping across Galicia that sparked a lighting failure at halftime at a saturated Balaidos stadium.

The second period started around a quarter of an hour late and with the players splashing through puddles on the playing surface the game eventually ended 1-0 to the visitors thanks to Papakouli Diop's 89th-minute volley.

Levante climbed to ninth on 13 points, while struggling Celta are in 19th and penultimate place on six points.

Champions Barcelona and Atletico Madrid dropped their first points of the season on Saturday when they drew 0-0 at Osasuna and lost 1-0 at Espanyol respectively, missing out on the chance to equal the best ever La Liga start.

Third-placed Real Madrid closed to within three points of Barca ahead of Saturday's 'Clasico' at the Nou Camp and within two of Atletico when they won 2-0 at home to Malaga. 

Image: Mikel Rico of Athletic Bilbao

Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

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