BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Carlos Vela scored a 75th-minute equalizer Saturday to give Real Sociedad a 1-1 draw at Elche in Spain, keeping the Basque side undefeated before it completes a critical playoff to reach the Champions League group stage.
Also, Espanyol fought back to beat Valencia 3-1 for its first victory of the Spanish league season, while Villarreal scored its second late winner in as many weeks to rally 2-1 over Valladolid.
Early at Martinez Valero Stadium, Sociedad appeared to be looking ahead to Wednesday when it hosts Lyon with a 2-0 advantage heading into their second leg with Europe's top tier club competition at stake.
Elche struck two minutes in when Ferran "Coro" Corominas tapped in a corner kick earned from the hosts' pressure that continued to cause Sociedad problems through the first half.
Elche went close to scoring again through headers by Alberto Botia and Manuel del Moral on either side of halftime, and was on course for its first win in the topflight for 25 years after being promoted last spring.
But Sociedad slowly pushed Elche onto its back foot, and Vela was left unmarked to volley in Xabi Prieto's cross for his second goal in as many league games.
The Mexico forward nearly took the full three points for Sociedad with a curling strike from outside the area that clipped the bar two minutes from time.
"Given how the game went, a point isn't too bad, even though at the end we had a chance to win," said Vela. "The first half was theirs, but in the second we knew how to rectify the situation. The point is good and now we have to keep working to finish off the job of going to the Champions League."
Espanyol created three clear scoring opportunities before Valencia's Helder Postiga snatched the 10th-minute opener at Cornella-El Prat Stadium.
The goal, however, didn't change the flow of the match, and Espanyol defender David Lopez headed in Simao Sabrosa's corner kick in the 31st.
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