Villarreal lose again, Depor out of drop zone

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Madrid, Feb 14 (AFP) Villarreal fell two points behindrivals Valencia in the Champions League race as they crashedto their second successive league defeat with a 1-0 loss atDeportivo La Coruna.

Defender Alberto Lopo''s goal on the hour sealed threevital points for Depor, who move out of the relegation zone,as Villarreal failed to score for the second consecutive gameyesterday.

A set-piece undid Villarreal, with Ivan Riki heading downa free-kick from the left and centre-back Lopo reacting firstto slide in a rare goal.

Villarreal, beaten at home by promoted Levante last timeout, should have equalised in the 82nd minute but substituteMarco Ruben headed over from close range.

Depor move out of the relegation zone and are now threepoints clear of Osasuna, who replace them in the bottom three.

Villarreal stay fourth, seven points ahead of AthleticBilbao, who travel to Real Mallorca on Monday.

Earlier, promoted duo Hercules and Levante did theirhopes of staying in the Spanish top flight the world of goodwith wins over Real Zaragoza and Almeria respectively.

Levante moved out of the bottom three with a 1-0 home winover fellow strugglers Almeria, who stay second from bottom.

Ecuadorian striker Felipe Caicedo''s ninth league goal ofthe campaign was enough to help Levante move two points clearof the relegation places.

Hercules staged a late comeback to record a 2-1 win overZaragoza, scoring twice in the final ten minutes to turn thegame on its head.

Zargoza, one point above the bottom three, led thanks toa fourth-minute goal from Braulio Rodriguez, but FranciscoFarinos equalised in the 80th minute and veteran Frenchstriker David Trezeguet scored a late winner.

Hercules, the only team to beat league leaders Barcelonain the league this season, move three points clear of therelegation zone. MORE (AFP) PM

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