BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Sevilla's run without a league win stretched to four games as Espanyol produced a solid defensive performance to come away from the Sanchez Pizjuan with a 0-0 draw.
The hosts had by far the better of the first period but were wasteful in front of goal on a number of occasions. Alvaro Negredo having the pick of the chances five minutes before the break when he fired over from six yards.
Espanyol improved after the break, wasting a couple of decent chances themselves on the counter-attack, and they were nearly made to pay when Jose Antonio Reyes almost crowned his return to Sevilla with the winner a minute from time, but his shot from the edge of the area went just over the bar.
Reyes' return to the Sanchez Pizjuan for the first time in seven years as a Sevilla player had proved to be a disappointing one in midweek as the 2010 winners bowed out of the Copa del Rey to Valencia, however the former Arsenal man nearly gave the home fans something to shout about 16 minutes in as his acrobatic went just over.
A minute later Martin Caceres had an even better chance but he shot straight at Kiko Casilla before Manu del Moral and Reyes again failed to hit the target when well-positioned.
Espanyol's only threat of the first period came when Thievy Bifuoma broke clear inside the Sevilla box but his shot also lacked conviction and was easily gathered by Javi Varas.
Sevilla were soon back on the front foot though and Piotr Trochowski was desperately unlucky to see his intelligent quickly taken free-kick fly inches past the post.
The opening the hosts had been looking for did eventually arrive on 40 minutes but after Reyes' perfect ball to the back post found Negredo the Spanish international's finish was uncharacteristically wayward as he side-footed the ball high over the bar.
The second period lacked even more in the way of goalmouth action. Espanyol substitute Vladimir Weiss should have done better when trying to play the in-form Alvaro Vasquez in on goal just after the hour, but it wasn't until the final few minutes that either side looked like breaking the deadlock. Firstly Reyes saw his rasping drive rise just too high to sneak under the bar, whilst in stoppage time Ernesto Galan had the chance to win the game for Espanyol but his volley at the back post also failed to trouble Varas.
The draw means both sides remain tied, now on 25 points, just five points off the Champions League places.