Negredo brace fires Sevilla to win over Athletic Bilbao

AP, SEVILLE, Spain

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 - Page 20

Striker Alvaro Negredo scored twice on Monday to give Sevilla a 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao in a physical La Liga match in which both teams had a man sent off.

With the match heading for a draw, Negredo surged forward to tap in Jose Antonio Reyes’ cross between the last defender and the goalkeeper to grab the victory three minutes from time.

The game at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan had a frenetic pace, with play flowing back-and-forth from penalty area to penalty 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 minute.

Sevilla’s Fernando Navarro received his second booking in the 73rd minute, while 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 them in midtable and in the hunt for a Europa League berth.

Sevilla play Real Betis Balompie on Friday in Spain’s most heated city derby.

“We’ll celebrate this win,” Negredo said. “Next Friday, we have a very important game for the entire city.”