Osvaldo leads Espanyol to win, up Spain standings

Madrid: Pablo Osvaldo scored a penalty and
set up another goal as Espanyol beat Hercules 3-0 to rise to
fourth in the Spanish league.

The Argentine striker fed Joan Verdu to sidefoot home the
15th-minute opener yesterday. He calmly beat backup goalkeeper
Unai Alba from the spot in the 81st after first-choice Juan
Calatayud had been sent off for tripping him.

Luis Garcia`s injury-time penalty completed the victory
at Cornella-El Prat stadium, where Espanyol has yet to drop a
point after six games.

"I`m not surprised," coach Mauricio Pochettino said.
"We`re in a good position in the standings and we have to take
advantage of it."

Espanyol has 22 points, one more than Valencia and two in
front of Sevilla, which lost 2-1 to Mallorca after Pierre Webo
scored a 90th-minute winner.

Webo took advantage of poor marking to head home an
in-swinging free kick. Two minutes earlier, second-half
Sevilla substitute Luis Fabiano had equalized.

Mallorca winger Michael Pereira beat goalkeeper Andres
Palop at the near post after receiving a pass from Chori
Castro. Sevilla coach Gregorio Manzano faced former club
Mallorca for the first time.

Atletico Madrid came from behind in the second half to
beat Real Sociedad 4-2 after two goals from Sergio Aguero.
Madrid has 20 points.

In other 12th round matches, it was: Levante 3, Racing
Santander 1; Deportivo La Coruna 3, Malaga 0; and Osasuna 1,
Sporting Gijon 0.

Real Madrid stayed top of the standings with 32 points
after a 5-1 win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, when
Barcelona recorded a record 8-0 away win against second-bottom
Almeria to stay second with 31 points. The Spanish rivals meet
next week in the "clasico."

Almeria, meanwhile, fired coach Juan Manuel Lillo after
the defeat. Former Zaragoza and Santander coach Marcelino
Garcia Toral is reportedly the front-runner to take over.

In San Sebastian, Real Sociedad led 1-0 in the 12th
minute after Joseba Llorente redirected Antoine Griezmann`s
centering pass. TV replays showed Atletico defender Tomas
Ujfalusi appeared to get a touch on the ball.

Aguero started the comeback by controlling Jose Antonio
Reyes` long pass and finding Diego Forlan in the middle of the
area for the Uruguay striker to slot past goalkeeper Claudio

Bravo was helpless in the 79th. Forlan spotted Ujfalusi
running down the right and the Czech defender fed Aguero at
the far post to score. The Argentina striker scored his fourth
goal of the season in the 82nd with Bravo out of position.

"Our goal is to stay at the top of the standings, so the
win is important," Aguero said after leading Atletico to its
first victory at the Anoeta stadium since 1991.

Sociedad midfielder Diego Rivas` long-range goal in the
86th made for a tense finish. But Simao Sabrosa`s penalty in
the fifth-minute of injury time after Reyes was brought down
in the box sealed the win.

In Valencia, Levante striker Felipe Caicedo scored twice
in three minutes to extend the lead to 2-0 over Santander.

Santander defender Domingo Cisma was shown a red card for
running into Caicedo shortly after the striker scored his
second goal. Santander striker Ivan Bolado was on the ground,
and Cisma appeared angry Caicedo did not stop play to allow
Bolado to receive treatment.

Levante`s Christian Stuani took advantage of poor
defending for the third in the 44th as his team snapped a
three-game losing streak.

Mehdi Lacen scored a consolation goal for Santander with
two minutes to play.

Deportivo extended its unbeaten streak to four games,
with its third win in that span.

Deportivo`s Adrian Lopez scored a 21st-minute penalty
after Sandro Silva was yellow-carded for bringing down Albert
Lopo, and Diego Colotto headed home from a corner for 2-0 on
the half-hour.

Pablo Alvarez completed Deportivo`s emphatic win in the
84th. Malaga slipped back to 18th in the standings and into
the drop zone.

Osasuna midfielder Masoud Shojaei coolly picked his spot
past goalkeeper Juan Pablo Colinas in the 54th minute against
Sporting, which stayed winless in five games.

Bureau Report

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