Real Sociedad cut the gap on second-place Real Madrid to three points with a 3-2 win at Espanyol in La Liga on Monday.

The champions have played a game fewer and host Elche on Wednesday, with Real Sociedad third, hot on their tail, although they were left holding on at the end against struggling Espanyol.

Takefusa Kubo and Alexander Sorloth’s goals gave Real Sociedad a commanding lead at the RCDE Stadium as Imanol Alguacil’s side bounced back from three games without a win across all competitions.

Espanyol defender Leandro Cabrera headed a Kubo cross into his own net to further sink his side, before Sergi Darder netted a consolation goal from close range.

Brian Olivan smashed in another for Espanyol with three minutes remaining, setting up a tense finale, before Cabrera was sent off in stoppage time.

Real Sociedad are 14 points behind leaders Barcelona, who are 11 clear of Real Madrid after their 1-0 win over Villarreal on Sunday.

Espanyol, missing injured striker Joselu, languish 17th, only a point above the relegation zone.

The Basques were still without creative midfielder David Silva, who they have missed, but Mikel Merino made his return from injury as a substitute.

After a tight opening period, albeit one in which the visitors had more of the ball, Kubo broke the deadlock with a bolt from the blue.

The Japan international fired Real Sociedad ahead with a sharp near-post strike from the edge of the box after a cross was cleared into his path.

It was his fourth league goal of the season, a mark of his improved form for Real Sociedad after seasons of flattering to deceive.

The former Barcelona and Real Madrid youth player netted only six goals across three seasons prior, amid spells at Real Mallorca, Villarreal and Getafe.

Espanyol brought former Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez on at the break to try and gain some control, but Sorloth quickly pounced.

The Norwegian forward doubled La Real’s lead early in the second half with a simple finish from Mikel Oyarzabal’s inch-perfect pass.

Cabrera then tried to block a Kubo cross but could only nod the ball in at the near post past the helpless Alvaro Fernandez.

Espanyol fans at last had something to cheer about when Darder netted late on.

Olivan’s strike gave them a chance of a point but Cabrera was dismissed after a second yellow card to kill their comeback hopes.

With only four wins this season and sinking deeper into the relegation mire, Diego Martinez’s side must improve fast.