Barcelona, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - Villarreal continued its push for a to- four spot on Monday by holding off Espanyol, 2-1, to climb to within four points of fourth-place Athletic Bilbao.
Villarreal took a 2-0 lead into the final 40 minutes with goals from Moi Gomez and Jeremy Perbet, but Espanyol pulled a goal back through Jhon Cordoba 13 minutes from time.
Sergio Garcia was then handed the chance to level the contest from the penalty spot in stoppage time, but his spot kick was saved by Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo to deny the home side a share of the points.
The Yellow Submarine seized the advantage after 36 minutes when Gomez applied the finishing touch on a pass from Nahuel Leiva, sending the ball high into the net from close range.
Espanyol fell behind by two goals early in the second half when a shot from Giovani dos Santos could only be parried by goalkeeper Francisco Casilla, allowing Perbet to score on the rebound from a few yards.
Cordoba found the net after he was set up by Garcia in the 77th minute, and Villarreal's Gabriel Paulista conceded the spot kick when he was called for a handball inside the area.
But Garcia's effort from 12 yards was saved by Asenjo at the bottom left corner to deny Espanyol the equalizer.