Sunday’s La Liga round-up: Sevilla keep the pace

Sevilla continued to keep pace with the league's big two in Sunday's action, while Sporting Gijon failed to escape the relegation zone.

Jorge Sampaoli's Sevilla returned to winning ways as they saw off Celta Vigo 3-0 at Balaidos. After a goalless first half, Iborra burst to life as he bagged a second-half hat-trick.

Iborra opened the scoring six minutes after the restart and doubled the Europa League champions' lead on 84 minutes before completing his three-goal in stoppage time from the penalty spot.

Los Rojiblancos remain third in the standings – one point shy of second-placed Barcelona and a further six adrift of Real Madrid at the summit, while Celta are down in 12th spot and comfortably clear of the drop zone.

Meanwhile, Espanyol kept their resurgence in the top flight going as they claimed a hard-fought 2-1 win over struggling Sporting Gijon at the RCDE Stadium.

Quique Sanchez Flores had made a poor start to his tenure in Barcelona after winning just one of his opening nine games in charge, but the Periquitos turned things around as they have embarked on a nine-match unbeaten run to move into the top-half of the table to sit ninth.

The embattled Asturians managed to hold out until the 54th minute when Felipe Caicedo gave Flores' side the lead, but they had to wait until the final few moments to seal victory through Leo Baptistao (90'), although Duje Cop pulled one back in stoppage time for the 18th-placed Rojiblancos.

Eibar and Alaves had to settle for a share of the spoils after their clash at Ipurua ended in a goalless draw, while in the late game Real Betis picked up a valuable 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao at Benito Villamarin.

Ruben Castro's 18th-minute goal settled matters in Seville as the Andalusians pulled six points clear of danger in 14th position, while Los Leones finished the weekend in seventh spot.

La Liga results:

Eibar 0-0 Alaves

Celta Vigo 0-3 Sevilla

Espanyol 2-1 Sporting Gijon

Real Betis 1-0 Athletic Bilbao

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