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Setbacks for Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao

AAP logoAAP 30/10/2016

Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao have suffered setbacks in their bids to join Spanish soccer's title race.

Villarreal crashed 2-1 at eighth-placed Eibar and Bilbao were held 1-1 at home by northern rivals Osasuna on Sunday.

Villarreal are now fifth, two points below fourth-placed Sevilla. They have 19 points, three more than sixth-placed Real Sociedad. Then come Bilbao on 16 and Eibar on 15.

At Eibar, Villarreal suffered their first defeat of the season, despite captain Bruno Soriano giving them the lead just before half-time with a calm penalty, after a foul by Florian Lejeune on Nicola Sansone.

However, Eibar surprisingly turned the game around with late goals from veterans Ivan Ramis and Pedro Leon.

"A lot of credit has to be given to Eibar," Villarreal coach Fran Escriba said.

"They refused to give up and just kept coming at us, with speed and persistence."

Meanwhile, Eibar's match-winning hero Leon said: "This is just about our best performance so far ... We showed a lot of character and strength to come from behind against a team as good as Villarreal."

Later on, Bilbao were held 1-1 by lively Osasuna, who are second bottom.

Oriol Riera gave Osasuna an early lead and Raul Garcia quickly levelled for Bilbao who could not go on to find a winner.

Later Sunday, Real Betis were to host Espanyol and Las Palmas were to take on Celta Vigo.

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