BARCELONA, Spain — Pablo Piatti scored twice shortly after halftime to help Valencia beat Real Sociedad 2-0 at home on Sunday, strengthening its hold on fourth place in the Spanish league.
Valencia pulled level on points with third-place Atletico Madrid, which faces a tough trip to fifth-place Sevilla later.
Piatti converted Valencia's dominance into a goal eight minutes after the interval when his deflected shot beat goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.
The forward then met Sofiane Feghouli's cross and slotted it beyond Rulli to seal the outcome three minutes later.
Valencia, however, lost first-choice defender Nicolas Otamendi to a leg injury right before halftime.
Also on Sunday, Real Madrid hosts Villarreal aiming to restore its lead over Barcelona to four points at the top of the table.