La Liga roundup: Sevilla flying high after Ben Yedder brace
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Seville and the Spanish language have been puzzling French forward Wissam Ben Yedder.
On the football pitch, though, he’s no longer confused.
Ben Yedder proved he’s got his groove back with a pair of goals - the second in stoppage time - to snatch a 2-1 win for Sevilla over a tough Alaves side at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on Saturday.
The victory pulled Sevilla provisionally level with Real Madrid on points at the top of the Spanish league, and underlined for the second time this week the worth of Ben Yedder’s offseason signing. On Tuesday, the former Toulouse standout also scored in a 1-0 victory over Lyon in the Champions League.
“I’m very happy for (Ben Yedder),” coach Jorge Sampaoli said. “He was having difficulties adapting to Seville, to the language, his teammates, understanding my orders, our system, many things. But in these two games he has shown why he is at Sevilla.”
His first goal came in the 74th when substitute Ganso passed superbly to set him up. Ganso had his back to the goal and was falling forward from a collision, but still managed to flick his left boot back and send a perfect assist for Ben Yedder to fire home.
After Alaves defender Victor Laguardia scrambled in the equalizer from a corner kick in the 84th, Ben Yedder’s winner went in off the side of his left heel, deflecting Victor “Vitolo” Machin’s low cross under goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco.
Before the late flurry of goals, the match was marred by several leg injuries, with all the injured walking off the pitch when substituted.
Alaves lost Kiko Femenia and Daniel Torres in the first half, while Sevilla lost forwards Samir Nasri and Luciano Vietto in a three-minute span with a half-hour to play. Referee Mateo Lahoz also had to be replaced late because of a calf problem.
Madrid hosts Eibar on Sunday when Barcelona, which trails Madrid and Sevilla by a point, visits Celta Vigo.
Ben Yedder’s second goal was one of three injury-time scores that swayed results across La Liga.
Former Liverpool midfielder Ryan Babel scored a scorching goal from outside the area in stoppage time to give Deporitvo La Coruna its first win in six rounds.
Babel joined Deportivo two weeks ago on a free transfer. The Dutchman had most recently played for Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates.
Babel went on with just over 20 minutes to play and made his impact when he sent his right-footed strike streaking in off the post, dealing Sporting a fourth consecutive defeat.
Another stoppage-time goal completed Las Palmas’ fightback at Osasuna, denying the hosts an elusive first win of the season.
David Garcia scored from a rebound off the upright after 90 minutes to take the point for the Canary Islands outfit.
“We deserved this point because we were the only team that should have won today,” Garcia said. “We carried the weight of the match throughout.”
Osasuna said coach Enrique Martin left the match in the first half because of an unspecified health issue.
Leganes continued its excellent debut in the top flight with a third win in seven rounds. This latest pushed Granada to the bottom of the standings.
Leganes defender Alexander Szymanowski struck in the 76th with a left-footed shot from the edge of the area after Robert Ibanez sprung a counterattack.
Granada’s latest loss ruined the debut of its caretaker coach, Lluis Planaguma, who took over managing duties following the firing of Paco Jemez.