Iborra hat-trick keeps Sevilla close to the lead­ers in Spain

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

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

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