THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ZARAGOZA, Spain — Strike pair Ruben Castro and Jorge Molina both scored to give Real Betis a 2-1 win at Real Zaragoza in the Spanish league on Friday.
Betis’ third straight away victory provisionally lifted the Seville-based side level on points with fourth-place Malaga and two points behind third-place Real Madrid.
"Starting the new year with three points isn’t too bad, no?" Castro said. "We have suffered to win these away games, but in the end we have known how to pull them out.
After Zaragoza had squandered various chances from set pieces, Castro netted his team-high 10th goal of the season one minute before halftime.
Castro collected Emmanuel "Nosa" Igiebor’s long pass into open space behind Zaragoza’s high defensive line, dribbled forward into the area, and slipped a right-footed shot under goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez.
Molina, who moments before had missed a golden opportunity from a pass by Castro, doubled the visitors’ advantage in the 58th after intercepting a sloppy pass by defender Alvaro Gonzalez.
"We are playing well, but the season is still far from over," Castro said. "Let’s see how far we can go."
Paco Montanes scored for Zaragoza in the 78th, but could not avoid seeing his team record its third consecutive loss at La Romareda stadium. Zaragoza stayed in 12th place.
Friday’s match was the first of the Spanish league after a two-week winter break.