By Joseph Wilson ,AP
BARCELONA, Spain — Sevilla scored twice in the second half to win 2-0 at Elche and rise into second place in the Spanish league after Deportivo La Coruna beat Valencia 3-0 to hand the visitor its first defeat of the season on Sunday.
Sevilla took control of a drab match with goals by Carlos Bacca and substitute Kevin Gameiro to move past third-place Real Madrid and Valencia and pull to within three points of leader Barcelona.
Atletico Madrid brushed aside Espanyol 2-0 to extend its unbeaten home streak in the league to 24 games and sit behind Valencia in fifth place on goal difference.
The eighth round left five points separating the league’s top five sides before Barcelona visits Madrid next weekend in the first ��clasico�� match of the season.
Also, striker Ikechuwku Uche scored once in each half to lead Villarreal to a 2-0 victory at home over Almeria, lifting it into sixth place.
Bacca recorded his team-high sixth goal of the campaign in the 59th minute when he put in a rebound of Gerard Deulofeu’s free kick.
Gameiro went on in the 61st and 12 minutes later raced forward to head in Denis Suarez’s well-placed cross to secure the points for Sevilla.
��We didn’t play well in the first half because we weren’t playing as a group, but in the second half we corrected those errors,�� said Sevilla coach Unai Emery. ��If they had done something more in the first half we would have been in trouble.��
But Elche never threatened and fell into the relegation zone with only one win.
Deportivo entered the round in last place after losing four straight games. In need of a victory, first-year coach Victor Fernandez revamped his starting 11 with several changes.
The decision worked and Deportivo outplayed Valencia throughout, pressuring up the pitch and never letting its midfield connect with striker Paco Alcacer.
Haris Medunjanin almost put Deportivo ahead with a free kick that hit the crossbar and bounced off the back of goalkeeper Yoel Rodriguez’s head before falling outside the upright.