Espanyol closer to La Liga drop after Sevilla defeat

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Espanyol have slipped closer to relegation in the Spanish league after a 3-2 loss at Sevilla.

It was Espanyol's eighth defeat in their past 10 games, leaving the club in second-to-last-place and three points from safety with five games remaining.

Espanyol led 2-1 at halftime on Thursday after an own-goal from Karim Rekik in the 29th minute and Javi Puado's strike in the 43rd.

Bryan Gil opened the scoring for Sevilla in the 22nd and the visitors equalised with Lucas Ocampos's penalty in the 69th.

They took the lead with an 88th-minute winner by Pape Gueye.

Espanyol had boosted their hopes of escaping relegation after beating 18th-placed Getafe in the previous round, a result that ended an eight-match winless streak.

But the outlook looks grim with their next match against leaders Barcelona and a meeting with second-placed Atletico Madrid also to come.

"We have to keep working and keep believing," said Espanyol coach Luis Garcia, the former player who was hired recently to try to help the team avoid demotion.

"We will fight until the last second of the last match. We can't throw in the towel."

Espanyol were relegated in 2020 for the first time in nearly three decades. They returned to the top flight in their first attempt as second division champions.

Sevilla, sitting in 11th place, got back to winning ways after a home loss to Girona in the previous round halted their streak of four consecutive victories in all competitions.

They next face Juventus in the semi-finals of the Europa League.

Girona kept their hopes of qualifying for Europe alive with Valentin Castellanos scoring six minutes from time to secure a 2-1 home win against Real Mallorca.

Vedat Muriqi looked to have robbed the hosts of two points when he levelled Bernardo Espinosa's first-half goal, but Castellanos struck late to keep up the pressure on the top six.

Real Betis beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 to ensure they stayed in pole position to take the last European spot, Willian Jose scoring the winner after only six minutes.

Valladolid remain in relegation trouble after Sergio Camello struck the decisive goal for Rayo Vallecano in a 2-1 home win.