- Associated Press - Sunday, January 22, 2017

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

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

Franco Vazquez and Pablo Sarabia also scored for Sevilla, with both goals coming after the 80th minute, 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. A win would have taken Osasuna off the bottom of the standings 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 with a pair of goals by defender Sergio Ramos at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to snap a three-game winless streak. Third-placed Barcelona, now four points behind Sevilla, plays at Eibar later on Sunday.

Sevilla had never reached the halfway mark of the Spanish league with so many points (42).

“We wanted to make history with the best campaign ever in the first part of the season, and we did it,” Iborra said.

Iborra equalized 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 Vazquez put Sevilla ahead for the first time in the 80th and Sarabia added to the lead two minutes into stoppage time before Kenan Kodro scored Osasuna’s third goal just before the final whistle at El Sadar Stadium.

“We fought until the end,” Sevilla midfielder Steven N’Zonzi said. “They were ahead two times but we never gave up … We want to be doing this well at the end of the season as well.”

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.

After winning the Europa League from 2014 to 16, 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 its only success in the 1945-46 season.



Antoine Griezmann scored an 80th-minute equalizer but Atletico Madrid was unable to extend its three-game winning streak, dropping further behind in the title race.

Koke opened the scoring three minutes into the match at San Mames Stadium, but Inigo Lekue equalized just before halftime and Oscar de Marco put the hosts ahead in the 56th.

Griezmann leveled with a remarkable low long-range shot.

Atletico is in fourth place, eight points behind Madrid.

Athletic, which was coming off two scoreless draws in the league, remained seventh.


Tales Azzoni on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tazzoni

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