MALAGA, Spain - Carlos Vela scored early and Real Sociedad hung on for a 1-0 win at Malaga on Monday to move in on the Spanish league's last Champions League qualifying place.
The Mexican striker continued perhaps the best season of his career by guiding Jose Angel Valdes' cross into the area past goalkeeper Willy Caballero with his left foot, as the visitors went ahead after 10 minutes at the Rosaleda.
The Basque side maintained the momentum following Malaga's sloppy start, with the Andalucians failing to conjure up much in attack.
Sociedad joined Villarreal on 40 points to sit just three back of Athletic Bilbao in the race to clinch the last spot in Europe's top-tier competition.
Malaga sits 17th, three points above the drop.