Espanyol made it a perfect six wins from six at their Cornella-El Prat stadium today beating promoted Hercules 3-0 to move into the upper reaches of the Spanish league table.
Joan Verdu opened the scoring on 14 minutes and late penalties from Pablo Osvaldo (80 minutes) and Luis Garcia (90 minutes) rounded off the scoring for the hosts, who maintained their 100 percent home record. Espanyol and current league leaders Real Madrid are the only teams with a flawless 18 points at home. Despite scoring just 12 goals in their 12 league matches Espanyol have now moved into contention for a UEFA Champions League qualification spot - a very different position to the mid-table obscurity they have suffered for the past four seasons.
"It doesn't surprise me how well we are doing," said Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino. "I see the group every day and the most important thing is to believe in an idea and a football model. We always have the same mentality of going out to fight for every ball and every match."
Sevilla missed the chance to leapfrog Espanyol crashing to their first league home defeat of the season with an agonising 2-1 loss against Real Mallorca today. Luis Fabiano looked to have stolen a point for Sevilla on 87 minutes after cancelling out Michael Pereira's opener but Cameroon striker Pierre Webo struck the winner two minutes later.
It was particularly disappointing for Sevilla coach Gregorio Manzano against the club he left in the summer, however, it was sweet revenge for Mallorca who lost out on fourth place to Sevilla on the final day of last season. Sevilla fall to seventh, two points off the top four, while islanders Mallorca climb to eighth two points behind Sevilla.
"The winning goal could have been avoided," bemoaned Sevilla coach Gregorio Manzano. "We have missed the chance to jump up to the European spots and are now four points off third place."
Depor reignite, Atletico climb
Elsewhere on Sunday, Atletico Madrid came from behind to win 4-2 at Real Sociedad and move above Sevilla into sixth place on goal difference. A flurry of late goals turned the game in Atletico's favour with the visitors scoring three times in the final 11 minutes to leave Sociedad empty-handed. Diego Forlan equalised at 1-1 on 71 minutes before Argentine Sergio Aguero scored twice inside three minutes and Simao converted a last minute penalty to hand Atletico only their second away win of the campaign.
Deportivo La Coruna continued their revival with a 3-0 home win over Malaga. Depor failed to win any of their first eight league games but have now taken ten points from the last 12 to move into the middle of the table. "A month ago it seemed like we couldn't beat anyone and now we are much more happy and that breeds confidence," said Depor coach Miguel Angel Lotina.
Promoted Levante, meanwhile, moved away from the relegation zone with a 3-1 win over ten-man Racing Santander. Ecuadorian international striker Felipe Caicedo, on loan from Manchester City, scored twice to down Racing who had Domingo Cisma sent off after just 29 minutes.
Sporting Gijon's miserable away form continued this afternoon after they lost 1-0 to midtable Osasuna. A strike from Shojaei Massoud eight minutes after the break was enough to give hosts Osasuna a victory at the Reyno de Navarra. The visitors have now taken just two points from a possible 18 on their travels this season, form which is undermining their hopes of winning the relegation battle they are likely to face this winter.
Giants too strong says Caparros
Unbeaten Real Madrid lead the standings with a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick sealing a 5-1 home win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday to ensure they are a point ahead of Barcelona when the two teams meet in the first Clasico of the year which will take place at the Camp Nou on 29 November. The heavy defeat prompted Bilbao coach Joaquin Caparros to say: "The difference between Barcelona and Real Madrid and the rest is getting bigger and bigger. We just have to focus on working well with the youth system and bringing players through."
Barcelona crushed Almeria 8-0 on Saturday thanks to a Lionel Messi treble. The humiliating home defeat to Barcelona prompted Almeria to sack coach Juanma Lillo with the club lying second from bottom of the table.
Real Zaragoza prop up the table and new coach Javier Aguirre hopes for a winning debut when he takes charge of the team for the first time at Getafe on Monday.