Valencia stays unbeaten with Espanyol win; Elche defeats Rayo
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) —
Valencia eased by Espanyol 3-1 at home on Sunday to remain unbeaten in the Spanish league under new coach Nuno Espirito Santo and continue its turnaround during a drawn-out sale of the club.
Valencia pulled level with Atletico Madrid in a share of second place, two points behind leader Barcelona.
Also, Elche won 3-2 at Rayo Vallecano for its first victory of the season.
Valencia’s Pablo Piatti scored from a pass by new forward Rodrigo Moreno to put the hosts ahead in the seventh minute at Mestalla Stadium.
Midfielder Dani Parejo slotted in Valencia’s second in the 63rd, followed by new Spain striker Paco Alcacer’s goal in the 73rd to seal the win.
Espanyol’s Sergio Garcia earned a penalty kick that he converted in stoppage time for the consolation goal.
The highly indebted Valencia is being purchased by Singapore tycoon Peter Lim. The club made several offseason signings, including Alvaro Negredo from Manchester City, who is recovering from injury and has yet to debut.
Moreno caused Espanyol left back Anaitz Arbilla fits all through the first half with his quick change of pace.
Valencia struck first when Andre Gomes stole the ball and passed for Rodrigo on the right side. Moreno sped to the end line before slipping the ball back for Piatti to push home.
Parejo picked up a loose ball to drive a long strike past goalkeeper Kiko Casilla before a series of defensive gaffs let Alcacer run clear and tap a pass into an empty net.
Espanyol is winless through three rounds.
Later, Sevilla welcomes Getafe and Villarreal visits Granada.
Elche left back Edu Albacar scored in the 37th when he dipped a free kick onto the grass and past Rayo goalkeeper Cristian Alvarez.
Gael Kakuta, on loan from Chelsea, took Alberto Bueno’s long pass, cut back and slotted in the Rayo’s equalizer in the 45th.
But Elche striker Jonathas Cristian de Jesus went past Rayo’s center backs to fire in a long strike in the 55th, and Pedro Mosquera’s deflected shot went in off the post in the 69th.
Bueno scored Rayo’s second goal in stoppage time from the penalty spot after Albacar handled the ball in the area.
It was Rayo’s first loss of the season after drawing in the first two rounds.