Sevilla tops Osasuna to stay close to leader Real Madrid

Sevilla salvaged a key 4-3 victory in a thrilling game against last-place Osasuna on Sunday, guaranteeing second place at the halfway point of the Spanish league season.

Captain Vicente Iborra scored twice — in addition to an own goal — to help Sevilla win its fifth in a row and remain only one point behind leader Real Madrid.

Franco Velazquez and Pablo Sarabia also scored for Sevilla to secure the away victory.

Osasuna, now winless in 11 league games, twice had the lead but couldn't avoid its 12th loss in 19 matches. The only victory for the promoted club was 3-2 at Eibar in October. It could have left the bottom of the standings had it beaten Sevilla as second-to-last-place Granada lost at Espanyol on Saturday.

Madrid, which has a game in hand, has already ensured that it will finish first at the halfway mark. It defeated Malaga 2-1 on Saturday at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to snap a three-game winless streak. Third-place Barcelona, now four points behind Sevilla, plays at Eibar later on Sunday.

Iborra scored an equalizer before halftime after Sergio Leon had given Osasuna the lead in the 15th minute. The midfielder again evened the match in the 65th, two minutes after finding his own net while trying to clear a cross into the area.

Argentine forward Velazquez put Sevilla ahead for the first time in the 80th and Sarabia added to the lead two minutes into stoppage time before Osasuna scored its third goal with Kenan Kodro just before the final whistle at El Sadar Stadium.

Sevilla, thriving under Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli, has won seven of its last eight league matches. In the previous round, it rallied late to end Madrid's record run of 40 straight games unbeaten.

A three-time defending champion in the Europa league, Sevilla has made it to the knockout round of the Champions League this season and is trying to win the Spanish league for the first time since lifting its lone trophy in the 1945-46 season.


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