MADRID: Ever Banega’s first-half penalty proved enough to seal Sevilla a 1-0 win at Real Valladolid on Sunday (Monday in Manila) as Julen Lopetegui’s men jumped to third in the Liga table.
Sevilla are unbeaten in six league matches since a 4-0 thrashing at Barcelona last month and trail the reigning champions and Real Madrid by only one point, although they have played a game more.
A tight encounter was settled by the only goal in the 13th minute, as Javi Moyano brought down former Manchester City winger Nolito and Argentinian international Banega dispatched the resulting spot-kick.
Lucas Ocampos of Sevilla was sent off late on after receiving a second yellow card for time wasting, but the visitors held on to continue their excellent start to the season under former Spain and Real Madrid coach Lopetegui.
Barcelona lead the table on goal difference ahead of Real Madrid after beating Leganes on Saturday.
Earlier on Sunday, substitute Kenan Kodro scored a late winner as Athletic Bilbao claimed a 2-1 victory at Osasuna to move fifth.
The Basque side have taken 10 points from their last four league games and sit only two points behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid.
Inaki Williams put the visitors ahead in the 21st minute with his third goal of the season, but Argentinean Ezequiel Avila levelled for Osasuna with 14 minutes to play.
Inly three minutes later, Bosnian Kodro sealed all three points for Bilbao on only his second appearance this term.
Chinese forward Wu Lei scored his first league goal of the campaign to help Espanyol secure a 1-1 draw against Getafe.
The 28-year-old was prolific in China for Shanghai SIPG, but has struggled since moving to Spain in January.
Former Newcastle United striker Joselu scored twice late on as Alaves won 2-0 at Eibar to take his Liga tally to six goals since leaving St James’ Park in the close season.
Iago Aspas netted a double to help struggling Celta Vigo to a 3-1 victory at Villarreal.