Las Palmas routs Espanyol to continue strong finish in Spain

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CANARY ISLANDS, Spain (AP) — Las Palmas routed Espanyol 4-0 at home on Friday as the Canary Islands side continued its strong finish to the Spanish league season.

Las Palmas, which returned to the top flight last summer after a 13-year absence, has won seven of its last 10 matches to provisionally rise to eighth place before the 35th round's remaining matches.

Jonathan Viera set up Las Palmas' opener by Nabil El Zhar in first-half injury time, after an opening stretch that Espanyol had dominated.

Helped by a rebound, Viera scored to make it 2-0 in the 49th before he crossed for Pedro Bigas to head in the third goal in the 56th. Substitute Wakaso Mubarak blasted in the fourth in the 75th.

"The important thing is that the team will stay in the first division," Wakaso said. "We have been working hard for this for the last two months."

Espanyol is 15th, five points from the relegation zone, after a fifth straight round without a win. There are three rounds left after this weekend's games.

Espanyol was without striker Felipe Caicedo and defender Oscar Duarte due to injury, while midfielder Victor Sanchez was suspended. It also lost Abraham Gonzalez to injury during the first half, and defender Javi Lopez will miss next round's visit by Sevilla after picking up a fifth yellow card.

Espanyol captain Lopez had harsh words for his team.

"We're past asking our fans for forgiveness considering how we played in the second half," he said. "It was unacceptable. We have three finals left, but playing this way we won't get it done. This is a difficult day, for the result and the image we gave."

The three teams in the title hunt all play on Saturday. Leader Barcelona, which hosts Sporting Gijon, is level on points with Atletico Madrid, which hosts Malaga.

Third-place Real Madrid is one point behind the two front-runners and visits Rayo Vallecano.

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