CESAR MANSO/Getty Images
April 17, 2017
Alaves boosted their chances of a top-half La Liga finish on Monday after they closed the curtain on Week 32 with a 2-1 victory over Villarreal at the Estadio Mendizorrotza.
Ibai Gomez and Rodrigo Ely scored twice in 10 minutes to put the hosts two goals ahead at the interval, and Cedric Bakambu’s 70th-minute chip home proved to be nothing more than a consolation for Villarreal.
Leaders Real Madrid preserved a three-point cushion over Barcelona after Isco struck late to clinch a 3-2 win at Sporting Gijon on Saturday, while the Blaugrana edged Real Sociedad at home by the same margin.
Atletico Madrid also added some spice to the Week 32 slate thanks to their 3-0 hammering of Osasuna at the Vicente Calderon before they prepare for a UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg at Leicester City on Tuesday.
Read on for a recap of Monday’s sole La Liga result and how it’s affected the Spanish top-flight standings as Week 32 came to a close.
|2016-17 La Liga Standings|
|16||Deportivo La Coruna||32||7||10||15||35||50||-15||31|
Alaves came into Monday’s meeting desperate for victory after losing their previous three league outings, and manager Mauricio Pellegrino got just the response he was seeking from his side .
And after 35 goalless minutes at Mendizorrotza, Gomez volleyed home from the edge of the area to score the club’s first goal in more than 300 minutes, with Villarreal goalkeeper Andres Fernandez helpless to prevent his opener.
The home outfit’s evening quickly went into overdrive, too, when central defender Ely got the better of his marker on the stroke of half-time to double the hosts’ advantage with a well-timed header:
A first goal in #LaLigaSantander and a special dedication…
Rodrigo Ely has two very good reasons to smile! 😊 #AlavesVillarreal https://t.co/MMSCGdaoTP
4/17/2017, 7:44:51 PM
Again, the Yellow Submarine’s defence didn’t look its usual self as it conceded a second, although Yahoo’s Andrew Gaffney was quick to note fitness woes had their impact on manager Fran Escriba’s options:
Andrew Gaffney @GaffneyVLC
Villarreal, debilitated by injuries, are being put to the sword by Deportivo Alaves. They’re 2-0 down at halftime. #LaLiga
4/17/2017, 7:31:30 PM
Villarreal threw Manu Trigueros and Santos Borre on after the restart as they sought to reduce Alaves’ lead, but it wasn’t until 20 minutes from time that Bakambu finally got the guests on the board.
His shot from a tight angle squeezed its way over Fernandez and in, although La Liga highlighted it as a season first for the Congolese striker:
Cedric Bakambu’s 6th goal of the #LaLigaSantander season was his first away from the Estadio de la Ceramica. ✈️
4/17/2017, 8:22:25 PM
That was as far as the comeback attempt went, however, as Escriba’s men were condemned to a second defeat in three away matches, keeping them fifth in the standings for the time being.
Alaves, meanwhile, moved above Valencia into 11th place following their first win in a month, with the club now just seven points off eighth-placed Eibar.