La Liga drop close for Racing

Racing Santander edged closer to relegation as both Granada and Villarreal pulled further away from the drop zone.

Racing went down 1-0 at home to Athletic Bilbao to leave themselves 11 points from safety with just four games remaining, while the visitors sneaked back into the European spots thanks to Gaizka Toquero’s goal on 12 minutes. However, despite Racing boss Alvaro Cervera acknowledging his side is more or less condemned to La Segunda, he believes the players must continue in their endeavours until the end of the season.

“Everybody is aware of the situation but we need to preserve our honour, keep working, and do our best. We must still compete and the club must now think of the future,” he said.

Granada did their chances of avoiding an immediate return to the second division a power of good with a 1-0 win over mid-table Getafe at Los Carmenes. Abel Resino’s men are now eight points clear of third-bottom Real Zaragoza and had Franco Jara’s 17th minute strike to thank for their seventh home victory of the campaign.

Resino praised his players’ character afterwards, although he insisted El Grana are not out of danger yet.

“We are still not mathematically safe and we need to beat Levante in our next game to achieve that as soon as possible,” said the former Atletico Madrid and Rayo Vallecano boss. “We all knew today was important and we now have a much better advantage over those below us.”

Villarreal in 17th will be kicking themselves at having conceded a late equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad, a point that gives them a six-point cushion over Zaragoza. Captain Marcos Senna gave the Yellow Submarine the lead three minutes before the break, only for Carlos Vela to level things five minutes from time with a spectacular overhead kick after Xabi Prieto had headed back Antoine Griezmann’s cross.

Coach Miguel Angel Lotina was satisfied with the draw but believed his Villarreal team should be winning these type of games.

“I’m happy with the result and the way we played so we must continue like this to secure safety,” he maintained. “This point strengthens our cause but we need to win matches like this with the quality we possess.”

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