Ocampos scores and makes winning save for Sevilla in La Liga
MADRID (AP) — It was a night to remember for Sevilla forward Lucas Ocampos in the Spanish league on Monday.
The Argentine led his team to a crucial victory by scoring the winning goal early in the second half and making the winning save deep in stoppage time while replacing his team’s injured goalkeeper.
The 1-0 victory over Eibar strengthened Sevilla’s grip on fourth place and kept the team on track to secure the final Champions League berth. With four rounds to go, Sevilla opened a six-point gap to fifth-placed Villarreal, which lost to Barcelona on Sunday. Sevilla was within two points of third-placed Atlético Madrid.
Ocampos scored in the 56th minute, then had to put on the goalkeeper’s gloves and jersey after Tomás Vaclik hurt his left leg while colliding with an opponent in the final minute of stoppage time. Vaclik could not continue and Sevilla had already made all five substitutions.
Eibar had a throw-in for the last play of the match and Ocampos ended up having to make a big save — from a shot by the opponent’s goalkeeper — to secure his team the home win.
Eibar goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic had gone toward the area for the final play and received an open shot from close range after picking up a loose ball inside the box. But his attempt went toward Ocampos, who battered the ball away just before the final whistle.
“It was strange moment, for sure,” Ocampos said. “Sometimes I play around as a goalkeeper in practice, but I never imagined that I would have to do it in the final minute of a game. The goalkeeper trainer just told me not to leave the net to avoid making a mistake, and the ball ended coming my way and I was able to make the save. We knew how important it was for us to win this match today.”
Ocampos scored with a right-footed touch from close range after Jesús Navas cleared a couple of defenders and made a well-placed cross toward the far post.
Eibar nearly equalized when Kike Garcías’s shot hit the post in the play in which he collided with Vaclik as the goalkeeper charged from his net.
It was Sevilla’s second straight win after a streak of four consecutive draws.
It was the second straight loss for Eibar, which stayed in 16th place, six points from the relegation zone.
Real Madrid kept a four-point lead over Barcelona after defeating Athletic Bilbao 1-0 on Sunday.
SOCIEDAD WINLESS AGAIN
Real Sociedad’s struggles after the break continued with a 1-1 draw at Levante, reducing its chances of grabbing the final Champions League spot.
The result kept Sociedad in seventh place. Levante stayed 12th.
Alexander Isak put Sociedad ahead in the 12th but the hosts equalized with José Luis Morales four minutes later.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni