SANTANDER, January 22 (Primera Liga) - Enzo Maresca scored two penalties as Sevilla continued their bid for a place in next season's Champions League with victory at in-form Racing Santander.
The Italian midfielder got on the scoresheet to seal the win after Sevilla had surrendered the early lead given to them by Fredi Kanoute.
Juan Juanjo had levelled matters for Racing but Maresca's double put the visitors in control and rendered Felipe Melo's late strike as nothing more than a consolation.
Sevilla have now won seven of their last eight trips to Santander and they went ahead in the 13th minute after the game finally emerged from a scrappy start.
Jose Luis Marti whipped in a corner from which Kanoute rose highest to plant a header past Racing keeper Dudu Aouate.
Racing battled hard to find an equaliser but their approach play often lacked the final ball required to prise open the Sevilla rearguard.
That said, Racing's finishing was the only reason they did not level matters shortly after the half-hour mark.
Jonathan Valle sent in a cross which was perfect for Mauricio Pinilla but the Chile international headed horribly wide when he ought to have made visiting keeper Andres Palop make a save.
Sevilla were not so fortunate a minute before the break.
A long ball into the area was nodded down by Pinilla and Juanjo was on hand to hammer the ball into the net.
The game was up for grabs at the start of the second half but the momentum swung towards Sevilla courtesy of a controversial refereeing decision after 47 minutes.
Referee Cesar Muniz Fernandez adjudged Valle to have pushed Jesus Navas inside the area even though there appeared to have been minimal contact.
Maresca wasn't about to pass up the opportunity though, and he slotted the spot-kick past Aouate.
Muniz Fernandez awarded another penalty to Sevilla six minutes later although he appeared to have got this one absolutely right.
Adriano was clearly pulled down by Jose Moraton and former Juventus man Maresca made it 3-1.
It would have been easy for Racing to throw in the towel but they continued to fight and create opportunities.
With 14 minutes to go, the hosts would have reduced the arrears but for a wonderful piece of defending from Daniel Alves.
Alex Hernandez was played in by Pinilla and his left-footed shot was flying in until Alves got back to clear the ball off the line.
Racing deserved more and they did at least notch their second with six minutes remaining.
Antonio Tomas' corner picked out Melo and he headed past Palop.
The late onslaught never materialised though and Sevilla held on with ease to record their fourth away win of the season.