Sevilla wins to close in on Champions League spot: La Liga
Move within 3 points of 4th-place Athletic Bilbao
Sevilla forward Kevin Gameiro scored a brace to help rout Espanyol 4-1 and keep his team in the hunt for a Champions League berth on Sunday, while Malaga and Elche both won to move away from the Spanish league's relegation zone.
Sevilla dominated the first half at its Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium with midfielder Stephane M'bia thumping a corner kick past German Parreno on the goalkeeper's league debut for the 18th-minute opener.
Gameiro made it 2-0 moments before halftime when Espanyol left him unmarked to control a pass with his chest before sweeping the ball home.
Espanyol pulled one back seconds after the restart when Sergio Garcia converted a penalty following Federico Fazio's foul on Christian Stuani.
But Gameiro worked a one-two passing combination with Marko Marin before scoring in the 84th, and Ivan Rakitic capped the victory with two minutes to play.
Sevilla rose to within three points of fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao before it visits Levante on Monday.
"This is the best part of the season, the most exciting," said Sevilla coach Unai Emery. "But we are not going to think about what's to come. I'm concerned with my team continuing to constantly improve, more than thinking about our objectives. We are in fifth place and I want to hold onto it."
Sevilla next hosts FC Porto on Thursday needing to overturn a 1-0 loss to advance in the Europa League.
Malaga midfielder Ignacio Camacho scored two goals and earned a penalty for a third to lead his team's 4-1 win over Granada.
And a last-gasp goal by striker Yiadom Boakye gave Elche a dramatic 1-0 win over Getafe in a big boost for the small club's campaign to remain in the first division for a second straight season.
Malaga's first win in five consecutive home games moved Bernd Schuster's side to 11th place.
Camacho headed Malaga ahead in the 14th from a set piece, and he followed with another headed goal from a corner kick in the 37th.
Youssef El Arabi had an opportunity to halve the difference for Granada just before halftime but goalkeeper Willy Caballero saved his penalty kick.
Camacho was then fouled by Jeison Murillo, allowing Nordin Amrabat to convert the spot kick in the 50th.
Juan Jimenez netted a fourth for Malaga in the 74th before El Arabi got Granada's consolation goal four minutes later.
"We knew what was on the line, three important points against a direct (relegation) rival," said Camacho. "We are happy but it isn't over. We have to make sure we stay up as soon as possible."
Boakye jumped above his marker to head in Carles Gil's cross three minutes into stoppage time to grab the winner in the dying moments at Elche. The victory lifted Elche four points from danger.
Valencia failed to rebound from its humiliating 3-0 loss at Swiss side Basel on Thursday in the Europa League as it was held to a 0-0 draw at Valladolid.
The point let Valladolid emerge from the drop zone and send Getafe down into the bottom three along with Almeria and Real Betis.
With six rounds to go, there are six teams within five points of the drop.
Atletico Madrid leads the league by one point over Barcelona, with Real Madrid another two points behind after all three title rivals won on Saturday.