Pran­delli off to win­ning start

> New man­ager gets Va­len­cia out of rel­e­ga­tion zone

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

CE­SARE PRAN­DELLI en­joyed the per­fect start to life in charge of Va­len­cia as Mario Suarez’s dou­ble lifted Los Che out of the rel­e­ga­tion zone with a 2-1 win at Sport­ing Gi­jon.

Vil­lar­real’s un­beaten start con­tin­ued with a 5-0 thrash­ing of Celta Vigo, whilst Ath­letic Bil­bao’s 3-2 win over Real So­ciedad in the Basque derby means the top six are sep­a­rated by just three points.

Pran­delli is Va­len­cia’s fourth coach in un­der a year, but got an in­stant re­sponse as Suarez fin­ished off a fine team move to open the scor­ing af­ter just seven min­utes.

The for­mer Italy boss sig­nalled his pri­or­ity is im­prov­ing Va­len­cia’s de­fence, but they are still to keep a clean sheet this sea­son as Car­los Cas­tro headed home un­marked just be­fore half­time.

How­ever, for­mer Atletico Madrid mid­fielder Suarez, who scored just five goals in nearly 200 games with Los Ro­ji­blan­cos, was the un­likely Va­len­cia hero once more when he coolly chested down a loose ball in­side the area be­fore smash­ing into the roof of the net 25 min­utes from time.

Vil­lar­real moved level with Barcelona in fifth, two points off the top, with a sur­pris­ing de­mo­li­tion of Celta at El Madri­gal.

Celta had won their last four games in all com­pe­ti­tions, in­clud­ing a 4-3 win over Barca last time out.

How­ever, Roberto So­ri­ano struck twice in the open­ing 12 min­utes be­fore Cedric Bakambu gave Vil­lar­real a 3-0 half­time lead.

Celta’s evening to for­get was com­pounded by Daniel Wass’ own goal and a red card for Sergi Gomez be­fore Manu Trigueros rounded off the scor­ing in stop­page time.

Ath­letic moved to within three points of lead­ers Atletico Madrid with a 3-2 win over lo­cal ri­vals So­ciedad in a pul­sat­ing Basque derby.

So­ciedad took the lead against the run of play when David Zu­ru­tuza volleyed home Xabi Pri­eto’s cor­ner on 17 min­utes.

Ath­letic laid siege to the So­ciedad goal, only to be de­nied by the out­stand­ing form of Ar­gen­tine in­ter­na­tional goal­keeper Geron­imo Rulli be­fore the break.

Iker Mu­ni­ain fi­nally lev­elled with a bril­liant ef­fort from out­side the box that curled in off the far post to leave Rulli help­less six min­utes into the sec­ond-half.

So­ciedad then caused their own down­fall as twice they were caught in pos­ses­sion deep in­side their own half as Aritz Aduriz chipped home Ath­letic’s sec­ond be­fore tee­ing up Inaki Wil­liams for the third.

Inigo Martinez’s fine header from a nar­row an­gle gave the vis­i­tors hope seven min­utes from time, but Ath­letic held on for their first win over So­ciedad since 2012.

The top four were all vic­to­ri­ous on Sat­ur­day as Atletico, Real Madrid and Barca thrashed Granada, Real Betis and De­portivo la Coruna re­spec­tively, whilst Sevilla sneaked past Le­ganes 3-2.

Ear­lier, Roberto Ros­ales’s stun­ning long-range ef­fort five min­utes from time sal­vaged a 1-1 draw for Malaga at Alaves. – AFP

– AFPPIX

Lazio mid­fi­fielder Ciro Im­mo­bile (cen­tre) tries to score dur­ing the Ital­ian Serie A match against Bologna at Rome’s Olympic sta­dium yes­ter­day.

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