Carlos Vela grabs point for Sociedad
Carlos Vela scored a 75th-minute equaliser Saturday to give Real Sociedad a 1-1 draw at Elche, keeping the Basque side undefeated before they complete a critical play-off to reach the Champions League group stage.
Early at Martinez Valero Stadium, Sociedad appeared to be looking ahead to Wednesday when they host Lyon with a 2-0 advantage heading into their second leg.
Elche struck two minutes in when Ferran "Coro" Corominas tapped in a corner kick earned from the hosts' pressure that continued to cause Sociedad problems through the first half.
Elche went close to scoring again through headers by Alberto Botia and Manuel del Moral on either side of half-time and were on course for their first win in the top flight for 25 years after being promoted last spring.
But Sociedad slowly pushed Elche onto their back foot, and Vela was left unmarked to volley in Xabi Prieto's cross for his second goal in as many league games.
The Mexico forward nearly took the full three points for Sociedad with a curling strike from outside the area that clipped the bar two minutes from time.
A goal by Ruben Cani six minutes from time was enough to guide Villarreal to a 2-1 victory against Valladolid as they came from behind to take all three points as Primera Division football returned to El Madrigal following a 15-month absence.
The Yellow Submarine had enjoyed a decade of unprecedented highs following their team before the club's shock relegation from the top flight at the end of the 2011/12 season -- having finished fourth the previous season. After winning promotion back to the elite at the first attempt, Villarreal played their first home match back in the Primera Division -- only for it to start badly.
Javi Guerra put the visitors ahead after just four minutes before Giovani Dos Santos equalised with a penalty seven minutes before half-time.
There were few clear-cut chances in the second half and the game appeared to be heading for a draw only for Cani to intervene.
Jeremy Perbet's cross from the left wing found Cani and he fired the ball home into the top right-hand corner of the goal.
Espanyol fought back to beat Valencia 3-1 at Cornella-El Prat Stadium for their first victory of the season.
Espanyol created three clear scoring opportunities before Valencia's Helder Postiga snatched the 10th-minute opener.
The goal, however, didn't change the flow of the match, and Espanyol defender David Lopez headed in Simao Sabrosa's corner kick in the 31st.
Christian Stuani headed Espanyol in front two minutes after the break, jumping and redirecting a free-kick by Juan Fuentes off the post and into the net.
Forward Thievy Bifouma sealed the result in the 89th with his second goal in two games coming of Espanyol's bench after an excellent dribble and assist by Manuel Lanzarote.