Levante beats 10-man Bilbao 3-1 in Spain
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -Levante beat 10-man Athletic Bilbao 3-1 at home on Saturday to close in on Spain's top-four Champions League places, while Valencia also came from behind to win 2-1 at 10-man Granada and move into eighth place after its first back-to-back wins this season.
Levante's sixth victory in nine home games this season lifted it to within one point of fifth-place Real Betis and fourth-place Malaga, which plays Deportivo La Coruna later.
Striker Aritz Aduriz scored his 11th goal of the season to give Bilbao the lead six minutes in.
But Christian Lell leveled for the hosts in the 26th, and Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte was shown a direct red card for fouling Roger Marti with only the goalkeeper to beat in the 43rd.
Midfielder Vicente Iborra headed Levante in front two minutes later. Nabil El Zhar then sealed the victory with a long-range shot in the 69th.
Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente, who Juventus is negotiating with to move to Italy this summer, went on as a late substitute, but failed to rally his side.
"The most important thing for me is that we were able to better our rivals after falling behind,'' said Levante coach Juan Ignacio Martinez. "Despite the initial setback, we always played as a unit and got better as the game progressed.''
Marcelo Bielsa's Bilbao remained in 13th place, six points above the relegation zone. It defense continues to struggle, having conceded 37 goals through 18 rounds, second worst in the league.
At Los Carmenes stadium, Mikel Rico left Granada a man down in the 34th when he received his second booking. Even so, the hosts struck first when substitute Brayan Angulo looped the ball over goalkeeper Diego Alves five minutes into the second half.
Brazil forward Jonas swung the game in Valencia's favor in the 59th by netting a header from Pablo Piatti's corner kick.
Valencia proceeded to bury the short-handed Granada in its own area, and Piatti finally netted the winner in the 82nd when he volleyed home Roberto Soldado's cross.
Granada's winless streak at home reached six games. It is one point above the drop zone.
Sevilla hosts Osasuna also on Saturday.
On Friday, Betis won 2-1 at Real Zaragoza.
League leader Barcelona hosts crosstown rival Espanyol on Sunday. Also, second-place Atletico Madrid visits Mallorca, third-place Madrid hosts Real Sociedad, and Celta Vigo plays Valladolid at home.
Getafe visits Rayo Vallecano in a Spanish capital derby on Monday.