BILBAO, Spain -- Rayo Vallecano continued its remarkable run up the Spanish standings with a 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao on Friday thanks to goals by Alhassane Bangoura and Francisco "Piti" Medina.
Rayo, with the topflight's smallest budget, was expected to struggle after selling forward Miguel "Michu" Perez last summer. Instead, the minnow's daring attacking style has it on a four-game winning streak and provisionally in sixth place, level on points with the fourth- and fifth-place teams.
Bangoura opened on the break three minutes after halftime by pulling in Roberto Trashorras' lobbed pass and firing under the goalkeeper.
Piti then netted his ninth goal of the season with a penalty in the 65th after Carlos Gurpegui fouled Alejandro "Chori" Dominguez.
Jose San Mikel grabbed one back for Bilbao with a volleyed strike in the 77th, but substitute Fernando Llorente left the San Mames crowd dumbstruck when he missed a point-blank header five minutes from time.
"It isn't easy to beat those guys," Piti said. "Bilbao is always tough with players who are good off set pieces like Llorente."
Bilbao has lost three in a row. The disappointing side is in 14th place, just six points above the relegation zone.