Valencia beats Espanyol 3-1 to stay undefeated
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Valencia eased by Espanyol 3-1 at home on Sunday to remain unbeaten in the Spanish league under new coach Nuno Espirito Santo and continue its turnaround during a drawn-out sale of the club.
Sevilla also extended its unbeaten start to the league with a trouble-free 2-0 win at home over Getafe. Elche won 3-2 at Rayo Vallecano for its first victory of the season, and Villarreal drew 0-0 at Granada.
Valencia and Sevilla pulled level with Atletico Madrid in a share of second place, two points behind leader Barcelona. Real Madrid lags six points behind Barcelona after losing 2-1 to Atletico on Saturday.
Valencia’s Pablo Piatti scored from a pass by new forward Rodrigo Moreno to put the hosts ahead in the seventh minute at Mestalla Stadium.
Midfielder Dani Parejo slotted in Valencia’s second in the 63rd, followed by new Spain striker Paco Alcacer’s goal in the 73rd to seal the win.
Espanyol’s Sergio Garcia earned a penalty kick that he converted in stoppage time for the consolation goal.
“We have to win at lot of points to qualify for the Champions League,” said Espirito Santo. “That is our goal and that is what we are going to try and do.”
The highly indebted Valencia is being purchased by Singapore tycoon Peter Lim. The club made several offseason signings, including Alvaro Negredo from Manchester City, who is recovering from injury and has yet to debut.
Moreno caused Espanyol left back Anaitz Arbilla fits all through the first half with his quick change of pace.
Valencia struck first when Andre Gomes stole the ball and passed for Rodrigo on the right side. Moreno sped to the end line before slipping the ball back for Piatti to push home.
Parejo recovered a loose ball to drive a long strike past goalkeeper Kiko Casilla before a series of defensive gaffs let Alcacer run clear and tap a pass into an empty net.
Espanyol is winless through three rounds.
Sevilla striker Carlos Bacca scored a penalty two minutes before halftime in Seville after Getafe goalkeeper Vicente Guaita fouled Grzegorz Krychowiak while disputing a high ball in the area.
Forward Aleix Vidal capped Sevilla’s victory in the 87th when he scored from a low cross grazed by Guaita.
“With all respect to Getafe, our goal was to win this game,” said Sevilla coach Unai Emery. “The key was to play at a fast pace so they didn’t feel comfortable and we did just that.”
Elche left back Edu Albacar scored in the 37th when his dipping free kick bounced on the grass and past Rayo goalkeeper Cristian Alvarez.
Gael Kakuta, on loan from Chelsea, took Alberto Bueno’s long pass, cut back and slotted in the Rayo’s equalizer in the 45th. But Elche striker Jonathas Cristian de Jesus went past Rayo’s center backs to fire in a long strike in the 55th, and Pedro Mosquera’s deflected shot went in off the post in the 69th.
Bueno scored Rayo’s second goal in stoppage time from the penalty spot after Albacar handled the ball in the area.
It was Rayo’s first loss of the season after drawing in the first two rounds.
Granada remained unbeaten with one win and two draws.