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Villarreal fight back to move up to fifth

  • Story Highlights
  • Villarreal recover from going a goal behind to beat Recreativo 2-1 on Thursday
  • The victory lifts them up to fifth in table, still in Champions League contention
  • Espanyol move out of bottom two with a comfortable 3-0 win at Sporting Gijon
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(CNN) -- Villarreal have moved up to fifth position in the Primera Liga, three points behind fourth-placed Valencia, after coming from behind to defeat relegation-threatened Recreativo 2-1 on Thursday for their first win in six matches.

Joseba Llorente scored the equalizing goal as Villarreal fought back to defeat Recreativo 2-1.

Joseba Llorente scored the equalizing goal as Villarreal fought back to defeat Recreativo 2-1.

The visitors took the lead after just 56 seconds when Javi Camunas took advantage of a defensive mix-up to poke home his ninth goal of the season.

However, Villarreal levelled in the 40th minute when Joseba Llorente raced onto a great pass from Ariel Ibagaza to lob home a superb equalizer.

The winning goal came midway through the second half, although the Recre players were furious that it was allowed to stand.

Winger Cani got in behind the visiting defense and his chip looked to have been cleared off the line. However, the referee awarded a goal and several Recre players were booked for protesting.

Recre drop to second from bottom following the defeat, as in-form Espanyol climbed above them courtesy of a 3-0 win over relegation rivals Sporting Gijon.

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Espanyol are now just one point behind Gijon, who are in the final place safe from relegation, after making it 10 points from their last 12 league matches.

Brazilian Nene opened the scoring before Roman Martinez and Jose Callejon scored twice in as many minutes to secure the points.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid's hopes of a second successive season in the Champions League look to be fading after they were thrashed 5-1 at Racing Santander, leaving them six points adrift of the top four.

Racing defenders Christian Fernandez and Ezequiel Garay grabbed a goal apiece inside the first 16 minutes and Mohamed Tchite clinched the game with a 38th minute strike.

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