MADRID - Agence France-Presse
Turkish international attacker Arda Turan (L) scores two brillant goals against Espanyol in a La Liga match to put on his greatest performance for Atletico Madrid. AA photo
Turkish international Arda Turan hit two spectacular strikes to improve Atletico Madrid’s hopes of European football next season as it beat rivals Espanyol 3-1 on April 22.
Diego Godin put Atletico ahead on nine minutes with a powerful header before Didac Vila crashed home an equalizer to make it all square at the interval.
Turan’s match winning performance began with an acrobatic finish to a Juanfran cross on 59 minutes to restore the home team’s lead.
Two minutes later, he took down a long pass from Godin before twisting and turning through the Espanyol defence and hitting a shot that sneaked past Cristain Alvarez in the Espanyol goal.
The win puts Atletico into seventh position, three points behind Malaga, who currently hold a
Champions League place, and level on points with Athletic Bilbao in sixth who beat Racing Santander 1-0.
The former Galatasaray
captain took his La Liga goal tally to three. He also has two goals in the European competition for Atletico Madrid.
Gaizka Toquero got the first-half goal for Bilbao that almost certainly condemns Racing Santander to relegation. Athletic, who trails Sporting Lisbon 2-1 ahead of its Europa League semifinal second leg in Spain on April 26, is currently in a position that qualifies them for that competition again next season.
Third-placed Valencia beat nine-man Real Betis 4-0 at home with goals from Jonas Gonzalves, Sofiane Feghouli, Roberto Soldado and Pablo Piatti to stay on track for a Champions League place next season.
Betis had Jose Dorado sent-off in the second-half for pulling over Feghouli as the last defender, while Jorge Molina followed him into the dressing-room with two minutes remaining for protesting.
Valencia is now six points ahead of city rivals Levante in fifth place and with only four games left are close to assuring Champions League qualification for next season.
The result also means Valencia will go into the second-leg of their Europa League semifinal at home to Atletico in good spirits as it looks to turn around a 4-2 deficit.