Seville (Spain), March 4 (IANS) Veteran Xavi Prieto scored a brace as Real Sociedad defeated Real Betis 3-2 here to overtake Atletico Madrid for fourth place in La Liga football championship, though the capital club has a game in hand.
The attacking midfielder scored the second and third goal for Sociedad on Friday, while the other goal came from Jon Bautista as they climbed to 48 points from 26 games, two points ahead of Atletico, reports Efe.
The outcome leaves Betis in the14th place, with 27 points from 25 matches.
Betis, coming off a victory on Tuesday over Malaga, mustered plenty of effort and enthusiasm in what was ultimately an unsuccessful bid to win two in a row for the first time this season.
The visitors were without strikers William Jose -- injured -- and Juanmi, who was serving a suspension after picking up two yellow cards against Eibar earlier this week.
One of the gaps in the line-up was filled by B squad forward Jon Bautista, who put Sociedad ahead 1-0 just nine minutes into his first La Liga appearance as a starter.
Betis pulled level in the 16th minute, thanks to a beautiful bicycle kick by Aïssa Mandi.
A few minutes later, however, the home side's Jonas Martin went down with an injury and the ensuing substitution of Tonny Sanabria seemed to disrupt the Betis game plan, creating more space for Sociedad on offense.
The greater openness quickly led to a second goal for the visitors in the 26th minute, when Prieto beat Betis goalkeeper Antonio Adan with a fantastic shot from distance to make it 2-1.
Sanabria equalised for the home team in the 65th minute with a header from close range.
Sociedad shifted into a higher gear and claimed the lead for good with a second goal from Prieto in the 72nd minute.