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- Monday, January 17, 2011 - From Print Edition


BARCELONA: A spectacular lob from just inside Osasuna’s half by Ruben ‘Cani’ Garcia helped Villarreal to a 4-2 victory over Osasuna on Saturday which kept them in third place in La Liga and maintained their push for a place in Europe.


Three minutes after Krisztian Vadocz’s 47th-minute header cancelled out Marco Ruben’s opener for Villarreal, Cani caught goalkeeper Ricardo Lopez off his line and lofted the ball from 50 yards out over his head.


Cani said he scored a similarly spectacular effort as a youth player at Real Zaragoza.


“You attempt these goals but they only rarely come off,” the 29-year-old told reporters. “I saw the keeper slightly off his line and luckily it turned out well.”


In an exciting end-to-end game Joan Capdevila and Gonzalo Rodriguez scored further goals for Villarreal with substitute Javier Calleja finding the back of the net in between for the visitors.


Third-placed Villarreal’s ninth home win in 10 games moved them five points clear of Valencia, who are level on 34 points with Espanyol ahead of Sunday’s home game with Deportivo Coruna.


In Seville, a brace from Jose Callejon gave Espanyol a 2-1 win over Sevilla which put them on the verge of the Champions League places.


Elsewhere, early goals from Javi Martinez and Iker Muniain helped Athletic Bilbao beat Racing Santander 2-1 to climb to sixth thanks to their seventh win of the season at San Mames Stadium.


Also, Real Sociedad routed Getafe 4-0, Sporting Gijon beat Hercules 2-0 and Zaragoza edged Levante 1-0.