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Guedes double boosts Valencia's top-four push

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By Reuters

MADRID (Reuters) – A brilliant double from Goncalo Guedes saw Valencia move into fifth place in La Liga as they recorded an impressive 2-1 victory at Real Betis on Sunday to move into closer contention for the fourth and final Champions League place.

Guedes struck almost identical efforts from outside the box either side of halftime to move Marcelino’s side on to 52 points, leapfrogging Betis’s local rivals Sevilla in the process.

Getafe, who earlier on Sunday beat Sevilla 3-0, currently occupy fourth place with 54 points.

Valencia, who have lost just one of their last 22 games in all competitions and have reached the semi-finals of the Europa League and Copa del Rey, were good value for the victory even though they ended with 10 men after the dismissal of Rodrigo.

They caused their hosts numerous problems throughout an entertaining first half that saw both teams share the chances until Guedes produced a brilliant breakthrough moment with stoppage time almost complete.

As he picked up the ball just outside the box, there appeared little danger but the Portugal forward skipped past the challenge of Marc Bartra and arrowed a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner past Pau Lopez.

Three minutes after the restart, Guedes produced a carbon copy of the finish after Betis failed to clear a corner.

Giovani Lo Celso halved the deficit from the penalty spot with 13 minutes remaining to set up a grandstand finish for Betis during which Rodrigo was sent off for a second yellow card offence and Kevin Gameiro forced a smart save from Lopez on the break.

Ultimately Betis, whose fans voiced their displeasure with coach Quique Setien throughout the second half, were unable to find an equaliser. The Andalusian side remain in ninth place on 43 points.

(Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; Editing by Ian Chadband)