BARCELONA, Spain - Athletic Bilbao strengthened its hold on fourth place in the Spanish league by winning 2-0 at Real Betis on Sunday after the bottom side had two players dismissed. Bilbaos first victory in four rounds lifted it four points clear of Real Sociedad and kept it in command of Spains last Champions League berth for next season. In contrast, Betis was left 11 points from safety after a dismal performance that at times bordered on self-destruction amid some questionable refereeing decisions. Seconds after Betis Ruben Castro was booked for diving in the area, Bilbao forward Iker Muniain scored from a spot kick in the 34th minute after Damien Perquis tripped Kike Sola from behind on the edge of the area. Another reckless tackle by Perquis earned him a second yellow card in the 41st to completely deflate the crowd at Benito Villamarin Stadium. Betis was left with nine men from the 58th when Lorenzo Reyes handled the ball after he had already been booked for arguing. Bilbao squandered several scoring chances until substitute Guillermo Fernandez headed in the first ball he touched in the 81st. Betis has won one game in the last 18 rounds despite having three different coaches this season. "It was an ugly game," said Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde. "My team pulled out a win thanks to the setbacks suffered by the other side. Playing against nine I still had the sensation that the game was evenly matched. Our forwards could have done a little more for us." Also, Valencia and Sevilla both won to move to within five points of sixth place and Spains last Europa League spot. Valencia needed an injury-time goal from 19-year-old defender Ruben Vezo in his first start to complete a 2-1 comeback win at home over a feisty Granada. Francisco "Piti" Medina put Granada ahead in the 47th, but as the visitors tired Valencia substitute Paco Alcacer tapped in Sofiane Feghoulis pass to level in the 64th. Valencia kept pressing and Vezo volleyed in a free kick headed on by a defender to claim the hard-fought win. Sevilla won 1-0 at Rayo Vallecano to end a six-game winless streak. After a drab first half by both sides, fullback Jorge "Coke" Andujar headed home Ivan Rakitics free kick to grab the 57th-minute winner at Vallecas Stadium. Unai Emerys team played the last seven minutes with 10 men after Vicente Iborra received his second booking for taking too long to leave the pitch after receiving medical assistance. Rayo remained in second-to-last place and five points from safety after conceding its league worst 59th goal in 25 games. "This was not a day to lose," Rayo defender Jose Castro said. Jerry Tillery Jersey
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. Diego Costa headed in Gabis corner seven minutes from time to secure victory ahead of the return match in Madrid on March 11. "We know that at Madrid it will be another game, which will also be important and very difficult," Milan coach Clarence Seedorf said.CONCORD, N.C. -- Jimmie Johnson is hoping hes on the verge of turning around a disappointing season. The six-time Sprint Cup champion won the pole Thursday night for the Coca-Cola 600, turning a lap at 194.911 mph at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the third round of NASCARs knockout qualifying format. It was the first pole of the year for Johnson, who has yet to win a race this season. "It certainly shows that were going to be strong this weekend," Johnson said. "I dont know that it sends the same message that winning two or three races will send. But I would love to rattle off two or three wins and have people fear the No. 48 as they have in the past. I dont think a pole position does that to the garage area, but you have to start somewhere." Brad Keselowski qualified second and will start on the front row for the seventh time this season. Kasey Kahne was third, followed by Danica Patrick and Clint Bowyer. Sprint Cup points leader Jeff Gordons struggles in practice runs carried over to qualifying. He didnt make it out of the first round of qualifying and will start 27th -- one spot behind last weeks All-Star race winner, Jamie McMurray. Johnson has won six Sprint Cup races at the Charlotte, twice from the pole. He said he isnt concerned that he hasnt won a race this season, which would secure a spot in the Chase for the Cup. What has bothered him is the lack of consistency. "We have been close to some wins and been pathetic at other tracks," Johnson said. Johnson was asked if he agrees with the notion that some detractors have enjoyed the fact that he hasnt won yet. "I think there are some people getting satisfaction out of it," Johnson said. "But if I win, I win too much. If I dont win, they say you arent winning enouggh.dddddddddddd So it doesnt matter what I do, I cant win." Johnson was a non-factor in the All-Star race last week at the track in his bid for a three-peat. He said his crew changed the setup in his car this past week, borrowing some advice from teammate Kasey Kahne. "We learned some things from last week," Johnson said. Keselowski said he was bummed he got beat out for the pole -- again. It was the sixth time this season he has qualified second. "Its like kissing your sister," Keselowski said. Patrick will start in the top 10 for the third straight week. She was fast throughout the qualifying session with the top lap in the second round of 194.595. But her lap in third round was more than one second slower. Joey Logano, who is off to the best start of his young career with two wins this season, will start eighth and will be considered one of the favourites on Sunday. Logano has already won twice this season and has historically run well at Charlotte with three top-five and six top-10 finishes in 10 career Cup starts at Charlotte. Track temperatures reached 106 degrees at the start of qualifying, but cooled significantly as the sun set behind the grandstand and the speeds picked up dramatically. Drivers had problems in the first two turns early in qualifying complaining their cars were tight, and had to adjust on the clock. Under the new format all cars are allowed 25 minutes to qualify with the top 24 based advancing to 10-minute session in round two. From that group, the top 12 advanced to the final, five-minute round. "The great thing about the new qualifying sessions is there are multiple opportunities to get it right and that is a good thing," Keselowski said. "That is why it is so much fun." Cheap Jerseys China NFL Jerseys Cheap NBA Jerseys Wholesale NHL Jerseys Wholesale MLB Jerseys Cheap Soccer Jerseys China Wholesale NCAA Jerseys Wholesale Football Jerseys Wholesale Basketball Jerseys Wholesale Baseball Jerseys
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