Soccer-Bacca bags hat-trick as Villarreal trounce Sevilla

(Reuters) - Villarreal striker Carlos Bacca scored a hat-trick as his side celebrated the return of supporters for the first time in over a year by thrashing Sevilla 4-0 at home in La Liga on Sunday.

Colombian Bacca had only scored twice all season but he put the hosts in front against his former club with a towering header in the 34th minute and used his strength to score again two minutes into the second period.

Sevilla, who had bowed out of the title race on Wednesday, had defender Diego Carlos sent off in the 52nd minute for a second booking and a bad evening for Julen Lopetegui's side got worse when Gerard Moreno further increased the hosts' lead in the 66th.

Bacca then completed his hat-trick in the 79th to further delight the 5,000 Villarreal fans who returned to the Estadio Ceramica for the first time since March 2020 after the Spanish government lifted a ban on spectators in a select number of regions with a low COVID-19 infection rate.

Villarreal are seventh with 58 points after 37 games, level with sixth-placed Real Betis, while Sevilla are fourth on 74th.

Villarreal visit second-placed Real Madrid in their final match of the season next Sunday before playing Manchester United in the Europa League final on May 26.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis)

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