Soccer

Real Betis win at Deportivo, rise to fourth in Spain

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Associated Press
12/2/2012 5:16:36 PM
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BARCELONA, Spain -- Costa Rica forward Joel Campbell netted a late winner from long range to give Real Betis a 3-2 victory at Deportivo La Coruna in the Spanish league on Sunday.

Back-to-back wins for Betis lifted it into fourth place and the Champions League positions.

Ruben Castro put Betis in control with his seventh and eighth goals of the season in the 39th and 55th minutes, both coming from crosses by Ignacio "Nacho" Perez.

Ivan "Riki" Sanchez pulled Deportivo level with goals in the 56th and 61st, and Deportivo coach Jose Oltra sent on an extra striker for a defender in the 72nd, looking to complete the comeback.

But four minutes later, Campbell was given time to pick his spot before unleashing an unstoppable left-foot shot that landed just inside the far post to secure all three points.

"Our fans should be proud of this team," said Betis coach Pepe Mel. "The team fought as a unit and was quick to strike on the break. Both sides were brave with their decisions. We both sent on players to look for the win, but we were the lucky ones."

Mel said that the 20-year-old Campbell, who arrived this summer on loan from English club Arsenal, is finding his place with his new squad despite his commitments with his national team.

"Some people in Costa Rica may get angry that I say this, but we have always said that so many hours in a plane crossing the Atlantic is not good for him," said Mel. "Since he has been here with us he has learned the way we play. It's good for all of us, for Betis, Costa Rica, and the player that he does well now -- so next year he will enjoy being with Arsenal."

Deportivo's fourth consecutive game without a win left it in second-to-last place.

Also on Sunday, Espanyol drew 0-0 at Granada, Levante drew 1-1 at Celta Vigo and 10-man Real Zaragoza earned a 1-1 draw at Mallorca.

Espanyol ended a run of three straight league losses in the first game for new Espanyol coach Javier Aguirre.

Granada, which is also in the relegation zone, created more chances at Los Carmenes stadium but Espanyol's defensive stance proved enough to take away a point.

"Any points we can earn are, at this moment, a good thing," Aguirre said. "We were better in defence than attack. The effort of my players was exemplary because they showed combativeness and team spirit."

Aguirre took over from Mauricio Pochettino midweek. The former Mexico manager previously coached three Spanish clubs: Osasuna, Atletico Madrid, and Real Zaragoza.

Granada has only one win in its last seven matches and coach Juan Anquela was jeered by the home crowd in the final minutes.

Levante snatched a draw at Celta thanks to an exquisite passing combination which ended with substitute Roger Marti scoring the equalizer one minute from time.

After Levante's Obafemi Martins had come close twice, Celta forward Enrique de Lucas took Iago Aspas' through ball and beat goalkeeper Gustavo Munua with a low strike to put the hosts in front in the 37th.

Celta looked set to get its second straight win until Jose Barkero lobbed a perfectly timed pass wide to Miguel "Michel" Alfonso who fired in a cross for Roger to volley home.

Mallorca was on the verge of taking firm command of the match when Zaragoza's Glenn Loovens was sent off in the 13th for fouling Emiliano Nsue in the area.

But Zaragoza goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez blocked the resulting penalty by Victor Casadesus, and two minutes later in the 16th Helder Postiga scored the visitors' opener when two Mallorca defenders flubbed a clearance and let the striker roll the ball in.

Mallorca sent on extra attacking players to press its advantage, and after his teammates missed several chances, Victor made up for his earlier miss by heading in an out-swinging cross from Giovani Dos Santos to split the points in the 85th.

"My players wanted to get the win for our fans, and to end a run in which he have only won two of 27 possible points, but that just led us to rush and that state of anxiety doesn't lead to anything good," said coach Joaquin Caparros, whose Mallorca rests just one point above the drop zone.

On Saturday, it was: Barcelona 5, Athletic Bilbao 1; Real Madrid 2, Atletico Madrid 0; Valencia 2, Real Sociedad 5; and Getafe 1, Malaga 0.

Osasuna beat Rayo Vallecano 1-0 on Friday. Valladolid is at Sevilla on Monday.

Ruben Castro Alex Martinez (Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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