Fans on hand in 2 La Liga matches for 1st time since pandemic
Sports Desk, May 16 (EFE).- Fans were in the stands in two La Liga matches in Spain for the first time in over a year since the coronavirus pandemic motivated authorities to prohibit in-person football matches.
Now, though, the Spanish government has lifted the ban on spectators in a few regions around the country that have shown low Covid infection rates.
Villarreal’s Bacca got a hat trick in his team’s 4-0 drubbing of fourth-place Sevilla, scoring in the 34th, 47th and 79th minutes, while Gerard Moreno added the team’s fourth goal in the 66th minute.
Bacca had only managed to score twice this season, yet everything went the Colombian’s way on Sunday as he got Villarreal on the board first against his former team with a header he blasted into the net just after the half-hour mark, although Sevilla clearly dominated play during the first period.
It was Bacca on the spot again scoring a second time just two minutes after play resumed after the intermission, and then it was more bad luck for Sevilla when Diego Carlos was expelled in the 51st minute, leaving Julen Lopetegui’s team short a man for the duration.
Moreno sent the ball into the twine in the 66th minute for the 3-0 and it was Bacca again 13 minutes later to the wild cheers of the some 5,000 hometown fans on hand at Estadio Ceramica.
With the win, Villarreal is in the seventh spot on the La Liga table with 58 points, tied with No. 6 Real Betis.
Sevilla, meanwhile, has 74 points and sits in fourth place, potentially able to take third place from Barcelona if they can beat No. 2 Real Madrid in the single match remaining. If they down the capital team, however, that would ensure that Atletico Madrid wins the La Liga title.
And in the Valencia-Eibar match in Valencia, the home squad dealt mercilessly with the visitors to the delight of the loyal fans on hand for the contest, sending their rivals packing by notching a 4-1 win.
About 3,000 spectators were allowed into the stadium for the contest in Valencia, but despite their relatively small numbers they were an enthusiastic and passionate lot, cheering the team on as it closed out its season with a decisive triumph over an Eibar who needed to win to keep itself out of relegation but now will fall into the second division.
Just three minutes into play Guedes was on hand in a rapid-fire sequence to get Valencia on the board after help from Carlos Soler, beating goaltender Dmitrovic at point-blank range.
Edu Exposito could have brought the visitors level almost immediately but his shot went wide by a hair, and that basically ended the Basque team’s counterattack, leaving the way clear for a Valencia that did tremendous damage along the left wing with Gaya and Guedes manufacturing the plays leading to the next two tallies, with Soler notching both the first at the 19-minute mark and the second 11 minutes later.
Bryan Gil managed to score for Eibar in the 38th minute the very first time he touched the ball, and they tried to go for the 3-2 twice but couldn’t get the ball into the net.
With the visitors proving unable to get a comeback mounted, Valencia – who had relaxed a little after their third tally – came out enthused after the break and it was Guedes again four minutes into play for the 4-1, with the lead remaining unaffected for the balance of the match.