No place like home as Rayo tops Espanyol in Spanish league

Asia's Tech News Daily

MADRID (AP) — Rayo Vallecano’s impressive run at home in the Spanish league continued Sunday with a 1-0 win over Espanyol.

An own-goal by Espanyol defender Leandro Cabrera early in the second half gave Rayo its seventh win in eight matches at Vallecas Stadium. Its unbeaten streak at home is its best since it also went eight games without a loss in 2002.

The club from Madrid, recently promoted to the top flight, has the best home record among all first-division teams. One of its victories came against Barcelona, while the only setback at home was a scoreless draw against Celta Vigo in November.

“For our opponents it’s very hard to play in Vallecas,” Rayo coach Andoni Iraola said. “The atmosphere here really helps. We want to keep winning, especially when we have the support of our fans.”

The victory left Rayo in sixth place, with 27 points from 16 matches, in the race for European spots.

The winning goal came when Cabrera found his own net while trying to clear a cross by Álvaro García in the 54th minute.

Rayo was coming off a near-elimination in the Copa del Rey on Thursday, when it needed a penalty shootout to get past fifth-division club Guijuelo in the competition’s first round.

Veteran Colombia striker Radamel Falcao, who didn’t play on Thursday, came off the bench in the second half against Espanyol.

Espanyol, sitting in 11th place, is yet to win in eight away matches this season, with five losses and three draws.

OTHER RESULTS

Valencia beat Celta Vigo 2-1 for its second win in its last 12 league matches. The victory in Vigo moved the team to eighth place. Celta, back in 14th place, continues to struggle at home, with six losses, two draws and one win.

Last-place Levante remained the only winless team in the league this season after a 0-0 draw against Osasuna at home. It has eight losses and eight draws in its 16 matches. It was the seventh straight game without a win for ninth-place Osasuna.

Elche won 3-1 at home against Cádiz to end a seven-match winless streak in the league and move further away from the relegation zone. It was the third straight loss for 18th-place Cádiz.

On Saturday, league leader Real Madrid won 2-0 at fifth-place Real Sociedad, while second-place Sevilla defeated Villarreal 1-0. Third-place Real Betis won 1-0 at struggling Barcelona, which is seventh, and fourth-place Atlético Madrid lost 2-1 to Mallorca at home.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

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