Iborra hat-trick keeps Sevilla close to the leaders in Spain
Vicente Iborra ended his scoring drought in style, coming off the bench to score a second-half hat-trick in Sevilla’s 3-0 win over Celta Vigo in the Spanish league on Sunday.
Nearly seven months after his last goal, the midfielder found the net three times after entering the game at halftime to keep Sevilla close to the leaders atop the standings. “I’m taking this (ball) home,” said Iborra, celebrating his first hat trick with Sevilla. “And it’s not to let my kids play with it, it’s to save it. I want to remember this when I retire.”
The 28-year-old Iborra entered the match because of an injury sustained by Argentine defender Nico Pareja. Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli took the opportunity to change the team’s formation by adding the more offensive Iborra, and it worked perfectly.
“With the structural change we started controlling possession,” Sampaoli said. “Vicente was crucial for us.” Iborra, who had last scored in a 2-1 loss at Sporting Gijon in April, became the first Sevilla player to score a hat trick away from home since Julio Baptista in 2004.
He jumped high among three defenders to open the scoring with a header off a corner kick in the 51st minute, then doubled the lead from inside the area in the 84th. Iborra closed the scoring by converting a penalty kick two minutes into injury time.
“It’s difficult to win here and this comes as a relief for us after the loss to Granada (in the previous round),” Iborra said. “It allows us to stay near the top in La Liga.” Sevilla stayed in third place after 15 rounds with 30 points, one point behind Barcelona and seven behind leader Real Madrid. Celta, which had won five straight at home, stayed on 21 points. On Saturday, Barcelona won 3-0 at Osasuna with two goals by Lionel Messi and one by Luis Suarez, while Madrid edged Deportivo La Coruna 3-2 at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium thanks to an injury-time winner by defender Sergio Ramos. Real Sociedad moved to fourth by beating Valencia 3-2 at home.
Fifth-placed Atletico Madrid plays at Villarreal later.
Eibar and promoted Alaves drew 0-0 in their first Basque derby in the top flight, a result that left both clubs from the northern Spanish region near the middle of the table. Eighth-placed Eibar has been in the first division for the past three seasons, but Alaves - 13th in the 20team standings - hadn’t made it to the top tier since 2005-06.
In Barcelona, ninth-placed Espanyol defeated Sporting Gijon 2-1 to extend its unbeaten streak in the league to nine games. The result left Sporting, which has lost four of its last five games, in the relegation zone. In Seville, Real Betis defeated Athletic Bilbao 1-0 with a goal by forward Ruben Castro in the 18th minute to move six points away from the demotion zone. Athletic is seventh. — AP
PARIS: PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, right, jumps to stop a goal during a League One soccer match against Nice, at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, France, Sunday.— AP