BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Striker Ikechukwu Uche scored his sixth goal in his last three league games to help Villarreal beat Almeria 2-0 on Sunday in Spain's top flight.
Uche continued his lethal connection with Giovani Dos Santos, with the latter setting up the forward, who opened the scoring in the third minute at El Magridal Stadium. The pair combined yet again, a week after the Mexican international set up the Nigerian for two goals during their 5-1 win over Real Sociedad.
Uche's strike against lowly Almeria was his 12th league goal this season, tying him with Real Sociedad's Antoine Griezmann as the competition's third-leading scorers. Real Madrid's Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo is out in front with 21 strikes, two ahead of Atletico forward Diego Costa (19).
Bruno Soriano sealed the victory in 87th by converting a penalty after Jonathan Pereira was fouled in the area by Rafael Ramos.
Villarreal rebounded from its elimination from the Copa del Rey with a third straight win in league play that provisionally lifted it into fourth place. Athletic Bilbao can reclaim Spain's last Champions League spot when it plays Valladolid on Monday.
Also, Getafe erased a two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw at home with Sociedad.
Sociedad went ahead courtesy of headed goals by striker Imanol Agirretxe following crosses by Carlos Vela in the fourth and 16th minutes, respectively.
But Getafe rallied and striker Ciprian Marica halved the difference in the 28th.
Sociedad goalkeeper Claudio Bravo denied Pedro Leon twice before the former Real Madrid midfielder volleyed in Diego Castro's cross in the 52nd minute after teammate Borja Fernandez had hit the post.
Getafe's resurgence was undermined, however, when Borja picked up his second booking in the 61st, leaving the hosts with 10 men.
Sociedad remained in sixth place, while Getafe stayed in the pack occupying the middle of the table.
Later, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid play respective games against Levante and Sevilla with both looking to win to stay at the top of the standings.