Valencia sinks last-placed Betis 5-0

JOSEPH WILSON Associated Press Published:

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Valencia rolled over bottom-side Real Betis 5-0 in the Spanish league on Saturday as it continued to show its turnaround under coach Juan Pizzi.

Striker Pablo Alcacer scored his third and fourth goals in the last three games to give Valencia back-to-back wins after it upset Barcelona last week.

Jeremy Mathieu headed in Valencia's first goal at Mestalla Stadium from a corner kick in the 41st, and Alcacer stretched to guide in newcomer Eduardo Vargas' pass three minutes later.

Sofiane Feghouli started and finished an attack in the 62nd. Alcacer headed in his second in the 68th, and Vargas completed the rout in the 79th.

Former Arsenal defender Philippe Senderos played 82 minutes in his debut for Valencia after joining from Fulham in the January transfer window.

Since Pizzi took over last month, Valencia has climbed into eighth place with three wins, two draws and one loss in La Liga.

Also, Rayo Vallecano broke a run of six home losses by humbling 10-man Malaga 4-1 to move to within two points of safety.

Forward Iago Falque dribbled by two defenders to open in the 26th. Anaitz Arbilla's deflected shot made it 2-0 in the 28th, and Joaquin Larrivey converted a penalty in first-half injury time after Malaga's Sergio Sanchez received his second booking for fouling the striker in the area.

Falque used another solo effort to score in the 63rd before Malaga debutante Oleksandr Iakovenko took the 72nd-minute consolation goal.

Later, pacesetter Atletico Madrid visits Almeria with a three-point lead over Real Madrid, which hosts Villarreal without suspended forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barcelona also trails Atletico by three points and visits Sevilla on Sunday.