MADRID (AP) Rayo Vallecano ended a run of three consecutive league defeats following a 3-0 home win against Espanyol on Friday.
Roberto Trashorras' first-half penalty and two goals in two minutes from Javier Guerra moved Rayo four points clear of the relegation zone.
The opening 20 minutes saw chances for each team with the woodwork being struck by both sides.
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The hosts then got the breakthrough after Espanyol defender Enzo Roco felled Guerra in the area. Trashorras converted the spot kick for in the 36th minute for a half-time lead.
Espanyol were reduced to 10 after midfielder Victor Sanchez was sent off for a second yellow in the 66th.
''We aren't playing well, and we have conceded many goals,'' said Espanyol defender Anaitz Arbilla. ''We come away from this match very hurt because the image we've given is very poor and we're going to have to do some deep analysis of our game.'' Espanyol have conceded 12 goals this season, the most in La Liga.
Guerra scored in the 76th and soon after unleashed a powerful effort from distance for his sixth goal in seven league matches, equaling Cristiano Ronaldo's and Karim Benzema's tally this season.
''It was a great night,'' said Guerra. ''We are delighted because it was a very deserved victory and I think the result was clear and comfortable, truthfully reflecting the game.''
Burgui failed to take advantage of a stoppage-time penalty for Espanyol when goalkeeper Antonio Rodriguez parried his effort.