Castro gives Betis win over Leganes in return to Spain

Betis jumped from eighth to sixth in the standings with its third straight victory. (Jose Manuel Vidal/EPA)

MADRID — Veteran forward Ruben Castro made a dream return to the Spanish league, converting a late penalty for Real Betis to beat Leganes 3-2 on Monday.

Castro, in his return after a stint in Chinese soccer, calmly scored in the 83rd minute, securing the victory after the hosts relinquished a two-goal lead.

The club’s all-time leading scorer entered the match only eight minutes earlier.

"It couldn’t have gone any better," the 36-year-old Castro said. "It was perfect. We won and I scored a goal that helped us earn the three points. I was really looking forward to playing here again."

Castro last year played on a loan for Chinese club Guizhou Zhicheng.

Betis ended a three-match losing streak at home.

Betis led 2-0 by halftime. Leganes was level by midway through the second half. Castro converted from the spot after Javier Eraso’s hand ball inside the area.

Betis moved to seventh in the 20-team standings, two points behind city rival Sevilla. Leganes dropped to 13th. It has a game in hand, against Real Madrid.

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