Real Betis routs Alaves to stay in third place in Spain

Betis' Andres Guardado and Hector Bellerin celebrate at the end of the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Real Betis at the Camp Nou stadium, in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. Betis won 1-0. (Joan Monfort/AP)

MADRID — Real Betis strengthened its hold on third place in the Spanish league with a comfortable 4-0 win over relegation-threatened Alaves on Tuesday.

The victory moved Manuel Pellegrini's team four points ahead of fourth-place Atletico Madrid, which won't play until the weekend.

Betis quickly built its lead in the first half with a pair of goals by forward Borja Iglesias and one by Sergio Canales. Juanmi Jimenez added the fourth early in the second half to seal the team's victory and end a three-game winless streak in the league.

Betis was coming off a 2-1 win over city rival Sevilla in a Copa del Rey match that was suspended and resumed a day later after a Sevilla player was hit in the head by a piece of PVC thrown from the stands on Saturday. Fans were back in the stands at the Benito Villamarin Stadium on Tuesday after the resumption of the Copa game was played behind closed doors.

Betis' distance to second-place Sevilla was reduced to seven points ahead of the rival's game at mid-table Valencia on Wednesday.

Alaves' winless streak in the league was extended to nine matches. It remains in 18th place, inside the relegation zone.

Later Tuesday, second-to-last-placed Cadiz, winless in seven league games and scoreless in the last three, hosts mid-table Espanyol.

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