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Leagues: La Liga

Sevilla boost top-four hopes with late equaliser at Villarreal

Madrid (AFP) – Sevilla took a step closer to finishing in La Liga’s top four on Sunday as Jules Kounde’s 96th-minute equaliser snatched a 1-1 draw away at Villarreal.

Villarreal thought they had won it at La Ceramica when Giovani Lo Celso scored with four minutes of normal time remaining, but Sevilla grabbed a dramatic equaliser to boost their hopes of securing Champions League qualification next term.

Sevilla stay third in the table, seven points ahead of city rivals Real Betis in fifth, with three games left to play.

After their superb run to the Champions League semi-finals, Villarreal are making a late push for next season’s Europa League but Kounde’s strike means they sit three points behind Real Sociedad in sixth.

Unai Emery’s team thought they had the lead before the hour when Kounde sent a looping header into his own net, only for the own-goal to be ruled out when Villarreal’s Boulaye Dia, who had pressured Kounde, was shown to have been offside.

Villarreal did make the breakthrough in the 86th minute as a weaving run by Etienne Capoue teed up Alfonso Pedraza to cross, the ball spilling out for Lo Celso to volley into the ground and in.

But with six minutes of injury-time to find an equaliser, Sevilla added a late twist as their goalkeeper Bono ventured up for a late corner and as the ball was headed down in the six-yard box, the lurking Kounde poked in.

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