Spanish La Liga Roundup, Oct. 17

Sporting Gijon spoiled Sevilla coach Gregorio Manzano’s good
start by beating the Andalucian club 2-0 Sunday in the Spanish
league.

Espanyol, Athletic Bilbao, Levante and Racing Santander also
recorded victories.

Sporting’s Alberto Rivera floated a precise pass into the area
and Gaston Sangoy superbly guided his header into the top corner
for the sixth-minute opener at El Molinon stadium.

Diego Castro then spun around before redirecting Carmelo
Gonzalez’s centering pass past Andres Palop inside the far post for
the second in the 51st.

Sevilla forward Alejandro Alfaro wasted one chance by shooting
wide and was stopped by goalkeeper Juan Pablo Colinas on another.
Substitute Lautaro Acosto also missed two late chances in front of
goal as Sevilla failed to build on Manzano’s impressive 3-1 debut
win over Atletico Madrid two weeks ago.

Earlier, 10-man Espanyol hung on for a 1-0 victory over Mallorca
thanks to Luis Garcia’s 31st-minute penalty despite going down a
man four minutes later when striker Pablo Osvaldo was harshly red
carded for a high challenge.

Mallorca had started well but Garcia made no mistake from the
spot after being pushed to the ground and Espanyol created the
better chances throughout. Mallorca ‘keeper Dudu Aouate was alert
to deny several goal-scoring chances.

“This (win) shows we’re working well and it confirms our
philosophy,” Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino said. “We were
constantly creating occasions.”

Despite the man advantage, Mallorca couldn’t unlock Espanyol’s
defense with Pierre Webo heading wide in the 77th. Cristian Alvarez
– filling in for injured ‘keeper Carlos Kameni – was unfazed by the
late pressure as Espanyol picked up its first win at the Ono Estadi
stadium since the 1999-2000 season.

Meanwhile, Athletic snapped a two-game losing streak with a 2-1
win over winless Zaragoza.

Andoni Iraiola opened the scoring at the San Mames stadium with
an 11th-minute volley that swerved under Zaragoza goalkeeper
Antonio Doblas inside the near post.

Fernando Llorente – fresh from scoring three goals in Spain’s
two European Championship qualifying wins last week – took his
season tally to four with a sharply headed ball in the 23rd.

Zaragoza was troubled by the physical Llorente, who headed a
clear chance wide in the 51st. Zaragoza was reduced to 10 men when
Adam Pinter caught the lanky striker in the face with his boot two
minutes later for a second yellow card.

Braulio Nobrega scored in the game’s last play for Zaragoza,
which never really threatened.

Levante earned its first win of the season at its Ciutat de
Valencia stadium with a 2-1 victory over Real Sociedad and Pedro
Munitis’ first goal in 18 months gave Santander a 1-0 win over
Almeria.

Deportivo La Coruna remained without a victory following a 0-0
draw with Osasuna, which picked up its first away point of the
campaign despite playing with only 10 men following Javier Camunas’
35th-minute sending-off.

Deportivo, which was without Mexico forward Andres Guardado, has
won once in its last 20 games stretching into last season.

“We have a good squad but they’re not playing well as a team,
and that’s the responsibility of the coach,” Deportivo coach Miguel
Angel Lotina said. “We have to understand how to rectify (our
play).”

Levante was the better side from the start and standout Asier
Del Horno opened with a 60th minute header. On-loan Manchester City
striker Felipe Caicedo then scored his second of the season from a
left-foot shot six minutes later.

Substitute Jeffrey Sarpong grabbed one back for Sociedad in the
80th.

Real Madrid tops the standings with 17 points following its 4-1
win at Malaga on Saturday. Also, Barcelona beat Valencia 2-1 and
both have 16 points.

Atletico Madrid beat Getafe 2-0 Saturday to improve to 13 points
– one better than Espanyol and two better than Sevilla.

Villarreal, which has 15 points, plays Hercules on Monday to
close the seventh round.