July 6, 2020 / 7:55 PM / a month ago

Ocampos scores then pulls off crucial save as Sevilla close in on Champions League berth

(Reuters) - Sevilla winger Lucas Ocampos struck the decisive goal and pulled off a last-gasp save as a makeshift goalkeeper as his side beat Eibar 1-0 on Monday in La Liga to home in on a return to the Champions League.

The Argentine broke the deadlock in the 56th minute by sliding in at the far post to bundle in a cross from Jesus Navas, and then pulled on a goalkeeper’s jersey for the final minutes after keeper Tomas Vaclik was carried off on a stretcher deep into added time.

Coach Julen Lopetegui had made all five of the permitted substitutes so could not bring on a reserve keeper but Ocampos proved up to the task by repelling a shot from Eibar keeper Marko Dmitrovic in the 11th minute of added time.

Dmitrovic had come up from his area to contest a late corner and almost snatched an equaliser but fired straight at Ocampos, who spread his arms to turn the shot away.

“I like to play in goal in training but I never imagined I would end up playing in goal in a match in the last few minutes but I’m always ready to help the team in any position,” Ocampos said.

“Before I went in goal the goalkeeping coach told me not to go far from the goal and the ball came towards me, I was able to push it away and we got the three points.”

The victory gave fourth-placed Sevilla a six-point cushion over fifth-placed Villarreal with four games remaining.

Eibar meanwhile remain in danger of relegation, occupying the final spot outside the bottom three with a six-point lead over 18th-placed Real Mallorca.

Earlier on Monday, Real Sociedad’s slim hopes of finishing in the top four practically ended with a disappointing 1-1 draw at Levante on Monday, as Alexander Isak’s 12th-minute strike was quickly cancelled out by a goal from Levante’s Jose Luis Morales.

Sociedad were fourth in the standings in March when action in La Liga was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic but have only picked up five points in seven games since the re-start.

They are seventh on 51 points, while Levante are 12th on 43 points.

Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Richard Pullin

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