Moreno and Zaza lead Valencia to 3-1 win over Alaves
By JOSEPH WILSON
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Simone Zaza scored one goal and set up another for Rodrigo Moreno to lead Valencia to a 3-1 win over Alaves in the Spanish league on Saturday.
Spain forward Moreno took his team-leading tally to 13 goals in the league this season. Zaza has 12.
The pair shared a quick one-two combination before Moreno was left alone to beat goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco in the 19th minute.
"Our (first) goal was a good collective effort," Moreno said. "Simone's pass was very good, as was my finish."
Zaza doubled the lead in the 33rd minute when he tapped the ball home following a free kick by Dani Parejo.
Alaves pulled one back through Ruben Sobrino after halftime, only for defender Victor Laguardia to score an own goal in the 54th minute.
Sobrino had a good chance to get Alaves back into the match at the Mestalla Stadium when he intercepted a poor pass from Neto but his long-range shot, with the goalkeeper off his line, went wide.
Valencia's sixth victory in seven league matches lifted the team above Real Madrid into third place before the reigning champion hosts Girona Sunday.
"We are playing well at this stage of the season," said Valencia coach Marcelino Garcia Toral. "Rodrigo and Simone ... have recovered top form. We have earned 19 of the last 21 points and want to keep this going."
In his first season with the club, Garcia Toral has Valencia on course for a Champions League berth with a top-four finish.
Valencia's players wore t-shirts before the match to show their support for teammate Francis Coquelin, who has had surgery on a torn tendon in his right leg he sustained in training on Friday.
Barcelona leads Atletico Madrid by eight points at the top before they play respective matches Sunday against Athletic Bilbao and Villarreal.
Real Betis crushed Espanyol 3-0 in a match briefly interrupted by two power outages in the first half caused by heavy rain and gusting winds in Seville.
Junior Firpo got Betis going when he headed in a poor clearance by Esteban Granero in the 34th minute. Ryad Boudebouz and Francisco Guerrero added second-half goals.
Eighth-place Betis moved within one point of the Europa League spots.
Getafe rallied to win 2-1 at Real Sociedad and keep alive its slim chances of qualifying for the Europa League.
Dakonam Djene cancelled out Willian Jose's opener in first-half injury time before Angel Rodriguez struck his team-leading 12th goal of the season in the 51st minute, rifling home a long-range shot.
Deportivo La Coruna and Las Palmas remained in the relegation zone after drawing 1-1 at the Riazor Stadium.
Alen Halilovic put Las Palmas ahead early before Raul Albentosa quickly leveled for the hosts.
Las Palmas is six points from safety and Deportivo seven.
Updated March 17, 2018