The Malta Independent 6 August 2020, Thursday

Spanish La Liga: Sánchez oldest player with Spanish league hat trick at 38

Associated Press Sunday, 8 December 2019, 18:29 Last update: about 9 months ago

Veteran Real Betis winger Joaquín Sánchez needed only 20 minutes to score his first career hat trick on Sunday, becoming the oldest player with a treble in the Spanish league.

The 38-year-old Sánchez scored in the second, 11th and 20th minutes at the Benito Villamarín Stadium, leading host Betis to a 3-2 win over Athletic Bilbao.

“It's the first hat trick of my life. I don't think it's going to happen again,” Sánchez said. “I've never been a goal-scorer throughout my career, so I'm really proud to be able to get three goals against a rival like Athletic. Considering my age, it's not an easy thing to do.”

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It was the third straight league win for Betis, which moved to 11th place with 22 points.

Athletic, sixth with 26 points, was coming off three straight league victories. Iñaki Williams and Yuri Berchiche scored the visitors' goals in Seville.

Sánchez came into the match with three goals this season before doubling his tally. He scored with a shot from near the penalty spot, then hit a well-placed curling shot into the far corner, and completed the hat trick from inside the area following a breakaway.

He came close to adding a fourth in second-half stoppage time, but his close-range strike was saved by Athletic goalkeeper Unai Simón.

“It was a shame he missed his chance for the fourth goal, it was probably his easiest opportunity to score," Betis coach Rubi said. “He keeps showing how good he is despite his age.”

Sánchez has played more than 600 matches in his career, most of them with Betis. He also played for Valencia, Málaga and Italian club Fiorentina. Sánchez played with Spain's national team from 2002-07, including in two World Cups and a European Championship.

Betis had won only one of its last 11 league matches against Athletic.

GETAFE CHASING EUROPE

Striker Ángel Rodríguez scored a second-half winner seven minutes after coming off the bench to give Getafe a 1-0 win at Eibar.

The win left the Madrid club in fifth place, immediately behind the final qualification spot for the Champions League. Getafe finished fifth last season and qualified for the Europa League.

Three goals were disallowed by video review, two for Getafe and one for Eibar, which has lost four in a row and dropped to 16th place, two points from the relegation zone.

REAL SOCIEDAD STALLS

Real Sociedad missed a chance to move closer to the top after a 0-0 draw at Valladolid.

The result left fourth-place Sociedad with 27 points, seven behind leaders Barcelona and Real Madrid.

It was the third straight match without a win for 14th-place Valladolid, which is six points from the relegation zone. The team owned by former Brazil forward Ronaldo hasn't scored a goal in four consecutive league games.

The weekend results left Atlético Madrid seventh, and out of the European qualification spots. Diego Simeone's team drew 0-0 at Villarreal on Friday.

On Saturday, Real Madrid and Barcelona won their homes matches to stay tied at the top with 34 points. Madrid defeated Espanyol 2-0, while Barcelona routed Mallorca 5-2 with a hat trick by Lionel Messi.

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