Sevilla beats Betis to stay in Champions League hunt

The Canadian Press

4/13/2014 9:51:43 AM

BARCELONA, Spain -- French forward Kevin Gameiro scored twice to help Sevilla win a bad-tempered derby at 10-man Real Betis 2-0 and stay in the hunt for Spain's final Champions League berth on Sunday.

Sevilla's victory at Benito Villamarin Stadium moved it to within three points of fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao before the Basque side hosts Malaga on Monday.

The loss left Betis languishing in last place, some 10 points from safety with five rounds to go.

"We maintained our attitude from recent matches that at least we can leave the pitch with our heads held high," Betis goalkeeper Adan Garrido said. "We will keep trying until the very end."

Betis had a feisty start but Sevilla struck first when Gameiro converted a penalty on the half-hour mark after Juan Carlos Perez was dismissed with a direct red card for fouling Carlos Bacca from behind.

Sevilla lost left back Alberto Moreno to an ankle injury after he collided with Jose Antonio Reyes at the end of a first half that saw several hard tackles.

Gameiro finally capitalized on Sevilla's manpower advantage by scoring again in the 82nd for his 13th league goal this season.

Unai Emery's Sevilla continues to enjoy a strong second half of the season as it aims for a return to Europe's top-tier competition. It advanced to the semifinals of the Europa League against Valencia after eliminating FC Porto earlier this week.

In other matches, Valencia goalkeeper Vicente Guaita saved a penalty to ensure a 2-1 win at home over Elche.

Valencia's Pablo Piatti opened in the 22nd before Ferran "Coro" Corominas levelled six minutes later.

Midfielder Dani Parejo's long strike restored Valencia's lead in the 61st, and Guaita blocked Damian Suarez's spot kick in the 71st after Piatti had fouled Cristian Herrera.

Valencia stayed in eighth place and seven points from seventh and the last Europa League spot, while Elche remained four points above the drop.

Valencia finished with 10 men after Antonio Barragan picked up a second booking in stoppage time.

Later Sunday, Atletico Madrid is at Getafe and hopes to move clear at the top of the Spanish league. It currently shares the lead with Real Madrid, one point ahead of Barcelona.

Also, Espanyol welcomes Rayo Vallecano.