(Reuters) - Sevilla overcame a dangerous Girona side to win 2-0 at home in an entertaining game on Sunday, climbing up to second place in La Liga to breathe down the necks of leaders Barcelona.
Girona had made an impressive start against their former coach Pablo Machin's side and La Liga top scorer Cristhian Stuani spurned a great chance to give them the lead.
Yet it was the home side who eventually broke the deadlock early in the second half.
Argentine playmaker Ever Banega scored from the penalty spot in the 55th minute, after Andre Silva had been brought down, and Banega was also at the heart of a splendid team move from which Pablo Sarabia stretched Sevilla's lead 10 minutes later.
Girona continued to threaten, and almost got a consolation goal in stoppage time when midfielder Borja Garcia whipped in a shot that looked destined for the top corner but Sevilla goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik managed to tip it away.
Sevilla are second in the standings, locked on 31 points with leaders Barca, who visit Levante later on Sunday as well as third-placed Atletico Madrid, who beat Real Valladolid 3-2 on Saturday.
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis)