Soriano's free kick gives Villarreal win over Valencia

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VILLARREAL, Spain (AP) — Villarreal midfielder Bruno Soriano scored with a brilliant free kick to earn a 1-0 win over regional rival Valencia in the Spanish league on Thursday.

Soriano curled a left-footed strike just inside the far post to claim a deserved winner for the hosts in the 64th minute, after Roberto Soldado had been fouled outside the area.

"I got lucky," said Soriano. "I struck it perfectly, where the goalkeeper had no chance of reaching it."

Villarreal's fourth straight victory lifted it past Celta Vigo and into fourth place, giving it control of the last Champions League spot.

Valencia was left in 10th, with coach Gary Neville winless through three Liga matches.

Valencia's only win under Neville in five games was a victory over Barakaldo from Spain's third division in the Copa del Rey.

Villarreal outplayed Valencia throughout, as Neville's lineup of five defenders left his two strikers without enough support in midfield.

"We had a good game plan," Soriano said. "Above all, we were patient because it is difficult to create chances when they play with so many players at the back."

The visitors briefly threatened through Andre Gomes and Dani Parejo shortly before Soriano scored.

Defending champions Barcelona lead the league ahead of Atletico Madrid and have played one less game. Real Madrid is two points behind the pacesetting pair in third.

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