Espanyol thrashes Valencia

Espanyol crushed Valencia in a comfortable 4-0 victory at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat on Sunday to secure its first win in six games.

Cristian Gomez opened the scoring in the 26th minute and Joan Verdu quickly doubled the advantage four minutes later with a superb strike from outside the box.

Alvaro Vasquez made the most of his substitute appearance as he slotted home a pass from Sergio Garcia in the 58th minute, while Kalu Uche capped the four- star performance with the game's final tally 10 minutes from time.

Espanyol sits six points adrift of a spot in next season's Champions League but just one point shy of a spot in the Europa League. The club is tied with Sevilla, Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid on 45 points apiece.

Valencia was once comfortably positioned in third place, but a poor run has put that spot in jeopardy as the club maintains its place by only one point.

Malaga 1, Real Sociedad 1

Malaga, Spain - Malaga failed to climb up to third place as it was held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man Real Sociedad at the Estadio La Rosaleda on Sunday.

The home side took the lead in the 19th minute when a deflected shot from Isco found the back of the net. Things went further in Malaga's favor when Mikel Gonzalez was sent off just before halftime, but the visitors were able to salvage a point against the odds as Xabi Prieto's effort from distance leveled the score three minutes after the break.

The draw keeps Malaga in fourth place on 51 points for the season. Real Sociedad has drawn three in a row to improve to 39 points.

Real Betis 1, Osasuna 0

Seville, Spain - Real Betis took another step toward La Liga survival on Sunday as it edged 10-man Osasuna with a 1-0 victory at the Benito Villamarin.

Ruben Castro provided the lone goal as his strike 10 minutes before the break capped a tame first half. Osasuna's Raul Garcia was shown a straight card in the second half to effectively seal all three points for the home side.

Real Betis now sits 11 points clear of danger as it has accumulated 42 points this term. Osasuna has lost three of its last five league games, clinging to a Europa League spot on 46 points.

Athletic Bilbao 1, Mallorca 0

Bilbao, Spain - Athletic Bilbao talisman Fernando Llorente scored the lone goal in a 1-0 defeat of Mallorca at San Mames on Sunday.

Llorente's header in the 12th minute proved to be all that Marcelo Bielsa's men would need to claim three points as they now turn their attention to Thursday's Europa League clash against Sporting Lisbon.

Bilbao in unbeaten in its last three league games, improving to 45 points on the year. Mallorca remains nine points clear of the relegation zone.

Real Zaragoza 1, Granada 0

Aragon, Spain - Real Zaragoza inched closer to safety with a vital 1-0 defeat of Granada at the Estadio La Romareda on Sunday.

Tomislav Dujmovic's early strike snapped a two-game losing slide and lifted Zaragoza to 18th place where it sits on 31 points.

Granada, on 36 points, enjoys a five-point cushion above the relegation zone.

Villarreal 1, Racing 1

Villarreal, Spain - Lautaro Acosta headed home a late equalizer to see Racing and Villarreal split the points in a 1-1 draw at El Madrigal on Sunday.

Hernan Perez had put the home side in front early in the second half, but Acosta got on the end of a cross Jairo in stoppage time to see last-place Racing snap a three-game losing skid.

Both sides remain in a battle against relegation as Villarreal sits five points clear of danger on 36 points and Racing sits bottom of the league on 26 points.

Atletico Madrid 1, Rayo Vallecano 0

Madrid, Spain - Falcao continued his sensational scoring season by providing the lone goal in Atletico Madrid's 1-0 defeat of Rayo Vallecano at the Teresa Rivero on Sunday.

The Colombian has netted a total of 22 league goals this season, placing him third on the scoring chart behind the blistering pace set by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. His 64th-minute strike on Sunday helped Atletico snap a two- game losing skid.

Atletico goes level with Espanyol, Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla on 45 points apiece. Rayo Vallecano has lost two straight to remain stuck on 40 points.