Madrid, May 21 (IANS): Real Sociedad took a big step towards assuring a fourth place in La Liga when they beat this season's champions FC Barcelona 2-1 in the Camp Nou Stadium on Saturday night.
Real Sociedad formed a guard of honor for Barcelona's title and then opened the scoring when Mikel Merino put them ahead after some careless defending from the home side. Martin Zubimendi, who Barca have made no secret of their interest in signing, had a big hand in the second goal when he set up Alexander Sorloth to make it 2-0 with 20 minutes left to play.
With the fans in Camp Nou chanting "Messi", Robert Lewandowski netted a last-minute consolation for Barca, a Xinhua report said.
Real Sociedad have now won four times in Camp Nou in their history, with three of those wins coming after they formed a guard of honor for Barca. The win keeps Real five points above Villarreal, who took another step towards assuring at least a Europa League place with a 2-1 win away to Girona.
Although Nicolas Jackson didn't score, he was vital for Villarreal, helping Yeremy Pino open the scoring in the ninth minute with a race forward to leave the winger with an open goal.
David Garcia equalized in the first half for Girona, but another sprint from Jackson in the 93rd minute saw him cross for Gerard Moreno to volley the winning goal into an empty net.
Goals from Inaki Williams and Alex Berenguer moved Athletic Bilbao into seventh place above Girona, as the Basque side ended a run of five games without a win at home to Celta Vigo.
Williams scored an early header, while Berenguer curled a 54th-minute shot into the corner of the Celta goal, just four minutes after Strand Larsen had nodded Celta level.
On Friday night, Theo Bongonda scored two second-half goals to give Cadiz three vital points in a relegation dogfight at home to Valladolid.
Valladolid have lost their last five matches and their night got worse in the 80th minute when Ivan Hongla was sent off 10 minutes from time.
The result saw Valladolid drop into the bottom three on Saturday after Getafe drew 1-1 at home to the bottom of the table Elche.
Munir el Haddadi put Getafe ahead in the eighth minute, but Lucas Boye leveled in first-half injury time and the result will feel like two points dropped for Getafe against a rival that was relegated several weeks ago.
Lazaro Vinicius scored a hat-trick for Almeria as the side from the far southeast of Spain beat Mallorca 3-0 to take a huge step towards survival. As they climb four points above the bottom three with three games left to play.