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Football | Spain

Lass Bangoura © Action Images

Rayo Vallecano beat Athletic Bilbao



Tiny Rayo Vallecano won 2-1 at Athletic Bilbao on Friday to move into sixth spot in La Liga, level on points with fourth-placed Malaga in the Champions League qualification slots.

Lass Bangoura and Piti, with a penalty, put Rayo two goals up in the second half and they held on despite Bilbao pulling one back through Mikel San Jose near the end and a late red card for visiting defender Alejandro Galvez.

Rayo, who are in administration and operate on La Liga's smallest budget, climbed to 31 points, the same as Real Betis in fifth and Malaga, after a fourth straight win.

Last season's Europa League and King's Cup finalists Bilbao were 14th with 21 points after a third consecutive defeat.

Rayo struck first just after halftime when Guinean forward Lass burst through a huge gap in Bilbao's shambolic defence and fired past Gorka Iraizoz in a one-on-one.

Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa threw on want-away striker Fernando Llorente who headed against the bar with almost his first touch, but the hosts were again hit on the break.

Alejandro Dominguez was brought down just outside the area, though the linesman signalled it had been inside, and a penalty was awarded.

Rayo captain Piti scored from the spot in the 65th, but they were slowly pushed back and defender San Jose volleyed one back for Bilbao, as the visitors struggled to clear a freekick in the 77th.

Llorente headed wide from point-blank range in a frantic finale, when Rayo were reduced to 10 men after Galvez picked up a second yellow card.

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