Espanyol completes comeback against Mallorca
Barcelona, Spain (Sports Network) - Espanyol scored twice in the final quarter of Friday's lone La Liga match to earn a massive 3-2 victory over 10-man Mallorca at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat.
With the two sides ensconced in a relegation battle, the result sees Espanyol pull further away from the drop zone by improving to 21 points, four points ahead of Mallorca, which sits third from bottom.
Espanyol took an early lead when Simao opened the scoring in the 15th minute, but Mallorca gained the edge before the halftime interval as Giovani Dos Santos and Javier Moreno Marquez scored in the 34th and 42nd minutes, respectively.
The visitors remained in front until the 67th minute when Verdu converted a penalty kick, but Espanyol greatly benefited from having an extra man during the closing stages.
Antonio Luna Rodriguez was sent off in the 81st minute to give the home side a clear advantage down the stretch, which it capitalized on thanks to Raul Baena's game-winner in the 82nd minute.
Espanyol has won three of its last four league games to improve its standing for the second half of the season, while Mallorca's second straight defeat leaves the club on unstable ground in the relegation zone.
In another relegation "six-pointer" this weekend, Osasuna and Deportivo, the only two clubs sitting below Mallorca in the table, will square off at El Sadar on Sunday. A win for either side would lift the club above Mallorca, while a draw ensures that they retain their respective positions.
There is not a great deal of drama at the other end of the table as Barcelona has built itself a comfortable 11-point lead at the top of La Liga. The Catalans, still without a league loss this season, will head to the Anoeta to take on Real Sociedad, which sits ninth in the table on 26 points.
Barcelona's main title threat has looked likely to be Atletico Madrid. Diego Simeone's side comes into the weekend in second place with 44 points, and it will welcome a Levante side to the Vicente Calderon that has lost two of its last three.
Also on Sunday, Real Madrid, which has claimed just four points over its last three league games, heads to the Mestalla to take on Valencia while Real Zaragoza attempts to snap a two-game losing skid when it travels to the Jose Zorrilla to face Valladolid.
On Saturday, Granada hosts Rayo Vallecano at Los Carmenes, Getafe welcomes Sevilla to the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, and Celta Vigo heads to La Rosaleda to face Malaga.
And in Monday's lone La Liga fixture, Athletic Bilbao, which has lost three league games in a row, hopes to put an end to a poor run of form when it heads to the Benito Villamarin to do battle with Real Betis.