Sevilla defeats Athletic Bilbao
SEVILLE, Spain (AP)
Striker Alvaro Negredo scored twice Monday to give Sevilla a 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao in a physical Spanish league match in which both teams had a man sent off.
With the game heading for a draw, Negredo surged forward to tap in Jose Antonio Reyes' cross between last defender and the goalkeeper to grab the win three minutes from time.
The game at Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium had a frenetic pace with play flowing back-and forth from area to area. Even so, the first two goals came from set-pieces.
Negredo sent Ivan Rakitic's free kick past goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz with a glancing header to score for Sevilla in the fourth minute.
After both sides went close, Bilbao defender Carlos Gurpegui flicked Ibai Gomez's free kick into the far side of the net to level in the 55th.
Sevilla's Fernando Navarro received his second booking in the 73rd, and Bilbao's Aymeric Laporte followed suit in the 80th.
''It was a great game for the fans to watch, very intense and against a rival that never stops,'' Negredo said after scoring his 16th and 17th goals of the season. Only Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Radamel Falcao have scored more.
Sevilla's seventh straight home win under replacement coach Unai Emery kept it mid-table and in the hunt for a Europa League berth.
Sevilla plays Real Betis next round in Spain's most heated city derby.
''We'll celebrate this win,'' said Negredo. ''Next Friday we have a very important game for the entire city.''