Real Betis stays hot, routs Espanyol 4-1 in Spanish league
MADRID -- Real Betis continued its good run with a 4-1 win at Espanyol on Friday, strengthening its hold on third place in the Spanish league.
It was the third consecutive win for Betis in all competitions, and fourth in its last five matches. The victory moved Manuel Pellegrini's team within five points of second-place Sevilla, the city rival that hosts Celta Vigo on Saturday. Leader Real Madrid is nine points ahead of Betis entering its home game against Elche on Sunday.
Betis is one of the hottest teams in Spain, having outscored opponents 14-3 in its last five games.
The victory left Betis seven points clear of fourth-place Atlético Madrid, which holds the final Champions League qualification place. Atlético, the defending league champion, has two games in hand compared to Betis.
Espanyol took the lead with a goal by Raúl de Tomás early in the game, but the visitors rallied with Borja Iglesias scoring twice and Guido Rodríguez and Willian José adding a goal each.
It was the second straight home loss for Espanyol, which stayed in 11th place.
Betis' Benito Villamarín Stadium has been closed for two matches after a Sevilla player was hit in the head by a plastic object thrown from the stands in a recent Copa del Rey game.
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