Villarreal grabbed a first La Liga win since September to ease their relegation fears after overcoming Real Betis at the Estadio de la Cerámica on Sunday night.
A quickfire second-half double from Gerard Moreno and Samuel Chukwueze saw them rise to 16th place in the league table, three points off the bottom three and only two points behind Betis.
Giovani Lo Celso got one back for Betis in stoppage time but it was too little too late as Quique Setien’s side failed to replicate their stunning victory at the Camp Nou before the international break.
Both sides now turn their attention to the Europa League in midweek with Villarreal travelling to Ibrox to face Steven Gerrard’s Rangers, while Betis host Olympiakos on Thursday evening.
Villarreal had the better chances in a fairly equal first-half but Betis goalkeeper Pau Lopez produced two superb saves from Fornals and Chukwueze to keep the score at 0-0.
The visitors had a couple of chances but they seriously lacked a clinical edge in front of goal with Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo collecting shots with ease.
Lopez continued his fantastic form in the first minutes of the second-half where he brilliantly denied Victor Ruiz from a corner.
The Spanish goalkeeper wasn’t able to do anything with the following corner as Moreno powered his header into the bottom corner to break the deadlock.
Two minutes later, Villarreal doubled their lead as Santi Cazorla back-heeled the ball into Chukwueze’s path and the Nigerian produced a low curling effort past the impressive Lopez.
It was then Asenjo’s time to show off his repertoire of fine saves to deny Aissa Mandi’s header from a corner with 15 minutes remaining.
The visitors had the opportunities within the final ten minutes to get back into the match but the final pass or the effort on goal was lacking quality.
Just before the 90-minute mark, Betis finally produced a moment of magic as striker Sergio Leon found himself some space in the box and laid it off to Lo Celso who took a lovely touch and smashed the ball into the top corner.
There was a nervous finish for the Villarreal players and supporters but they managed to get over the line and pick up three valuable points.
Villarreal: Asenjo; Mario (Llambrich, 67), Funes Mori, Ruiz, Pedraza Sag; Caseres, Trigueros (Morlanes, 40), Cazorla, Fornals; Chukwueze, Moreno (Bacca, 79)
Real Betis: Pau Lopez; Mandi, Bartra, Feddal (Tello, 61); Carvalho, Guerrero Martin, Canales, Guardado (Lo Celso, 64), Firpo Adames; Garcia, Joaquin (Sergio Leon, 69)