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Kanoute hat-trick fires Sevilla

A SUPERB hat-trick from Frederic Kanoute helped Sevilla beat Real Valladolid 4-1 at home to consolidate third place in the Primera Liga on Saturday.

The Mali striker's deft first touch and finish opened the scoring at the Sanchez Pizjuan and he rounded off a fine display with a sweeping volley and a powerful header.

Sevilla is third with 54 points, six ahead of fourth-placed Villarreal, which beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0 at home with goals from Santi Cazorla and Matias Fernandez.

Second-placed champion Real Madrid, with 60 points, was playing Almeria at the Bernabeu yesterday when leader Barcelona (66) welcomes Malaga.

Valladolid's early ambition left it exposed when Ndri Romaric broke forward after eight minutes to feed Kanoute, whose first touch gave him space to finish low into the far corner.

Henok Goitom headed the visitors level from a freekick, but Kanoute put the hosts back in front when he caught Jesus Navas's low cross with a perfectly-timed volley that flew inside the far post just before halftime. Luis Fabiano broke the offside trap to round the keeper and make it 3-1 after the re-start.

Kanoute sealed his hat-trick with an unstoppable header from Fernando Navarro's cross in the 70th, taking his league tally for the season to 15.

In Italy, Juventus kept the Serie A title race alive when Vincenzo Iaquinta struck twice in a 4-1 win at depleted AS Roma on Saturday.

The Italy forward fired in his first goal in the 34th and then headed the visitors back in front early in the second half following Simone Loria's equalizer.

Olof Mellberg and Pavel Nedved added goals after injury-and-suspension ravaged Roma ran out of steam.

The win puts Juve four points behind leader Inter Milan, which has 10 games left and was hosting bottom side Reggina yesterday.

Eighth-placed Lazio's hopes of European qualification took another blow when it lost 0-1 at Catania.


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