Sevilla win to close in on Real Madrid

Rafa Mir and Papu Hernandez of Sevilla FC celebrating goal during the La Liga match between Sevilla FC and Elche CF played at Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on February 11, 2022 in Sevilla, Spain.

Papu Gomez and Rafa Mir have scored as Sevilla accounted for Elche 2-0 to close the gap on La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

Gomez broke through in the 70th minute when the Argentina midfielder got past three defenders and his shot took a deflection in off an Elche player.

Anthony Martial, who made his home debut since his loan from Manchester United, crossed for substitute Mir to head in the second goal six minutes later to ensure the victory at Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Julen Lopetegui's side closed to within three points of Madrid.

Madrid visit sixth-placed Villarreal on Saturday without injured striker Karim Benzema, the league top scorer with 17.

Three days later they will travel to face Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League round of 16.

Elche were left in 14th place after their first loss in six rounds.

Emerging as the top challengers to Madrid after the struggles of defending champions Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, Sevilla added Martial and Jesus Corona to their attack in the winter transfer market.

The Andalusian side sputtered recently and were on a run of three straight draws in the league and avoided a fourth when Gomez broke the deadlock with his excellent solo effort.

We had been playing well but had let the results slip away. We knew that we had to win today one way or another to stay in the fight," Gomez said after his fourth goal of the season.

It is easy to dream (of winning the title). We want to reach the end of season with our options alive.

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