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Rediff.com  » Sports » Ten-man Bilbao battle back to beat Osasuna 2-1

Ten-man Bilbao battle back to beat Osasuna 2-1

April 18, 2011 12:36 IST

Athletic Bilbao boosted their chances of securing a place in next season's Europa League when they fought back from a goal and a man down to snatch a 2-1 victory at struggling Osasuna on Sunday.

The Basque club had defender Xabi Castillo sent off for a second yellow card in the 57th minute in Pamplona, shortly after striker Kike Sola had fired the home side in front.

Osasuna were unable to make their numerical advantage count and Bilbao's Spain striker Fernando Llorente levelled with a header with just over 20 minutes left.

After Osasuna defender Sergio Fernandez was sent off for a second yellow in the 88th minute, Iker Muniain pounced on a defensive howler by goalkeeper Ricardo Lopez to curl the ball into the empty net from wide on the left.

The victory means Bilbao climb above Sevilla into fifth on 48 points with six matches left after the Andalusians lost 1-0 at Getafe on Saturday.

In the day's earlier games, surprise package Levante, promoted at the end of last season and unbeaten in eight games since mid February, strengthened their grip on ninth thanks to a 2-1 win at home to struggling Hercules.

With only 12 points separating 11th from 20th in a congested bottom half of the table, Deportivo Coruna secured a crucial 2-0 win at home to Racing Santander, while Real Sociedad beat visiting Sporting Gijon 2-1 in San Sebastian.

Almeria remain rooted to the bottom on 26 points after they were beaten 3-0 at home by third-placed Valencia on Saturday.

Hercules have 30 points in 19th and Real Zaragoza, who play at fourth-placed Villarreal on Monday, are 18th on 33.

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