An inspired Lazaro scored all three goals in Almeria’s 3-0 home win over Mallorca, duly becoming the first player in the club’s history to score a La Liga hat-trick. The Rojiblancos’ emphatic victory also moves them four points clear of the drop zone.
After edging out Cadiz in their last outing, Mallorca travelled to the Power Horse Stadium with the chance to claim consecutive victories.
The visitors were presented with a golden opportunity to score an early opener when Lee Kang-In latched onto Fernando Martínez’s long ball over the top, but the South Korea international could only produce a tame effort with his weaker right foot.
And it proved to be a costly miss, as Almeria took the lead through Lazaro in the 12th minute, when Luis Suarez’s deflected strike fell into the path of the 21-year-old, who calmly tapped the ball home to find the net in a third consecutive appearance.
The remainder of the first period looked set to pass by without another goal, but Lazaro had different ideas. With three minutes to play before the break, the Brazilian produced a thumping effort from the edge of the box that whistled past the despairing dive of Predrag Rajkovic.
Not only did the strike double Almeria’s advantage, but it also represented the first time that Lázaro had scored more than one goal in a single game during his senior career.
Not content with scoring a brace, Lazaro began his search for a third goal in the opening stages of the second half.
The former Flamengo man fired over the crossbar within three minutes of the restart, but he made no such mistake just before the hour mark when he calmly guided home Suarez’s sublime cross to bring up his first career hat-trick.
Amath Ndiaye had the ball in the net for the visitors with just over 10 minutes remaining, but the goal was swiftly chalked off for offside, ensuring Rubi’s side could coast to a precious victory and a third clean sheet of the La Liga season.
While Almeria now sit pretty in an anxiety-easing 13th place, Mallorca remain in 12th position following a third consecutive away defeat.
Segunda Division-bound Elche did little to help Getafe’s efforts to secure safety as they held the Azulones to a tough 1-1 draw at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, denying the hosts a first-ever league double over them.
Motivated to escape the relegation zone, Getafe got down to business with a fantastic start, striking first blood in under 10 minutes via Munir El-Haddadi’s pinpoint shot into the far post.
Damian Suarez, who superbly assisted the goal with a cross, almost turned goalscorer midway through the half, as his one-on-one effort went agonsingly wide of the post following Enes Unal’s fantastic pass.
Remarkably, Unal then squandered an open header, failing to beat an onrushing Edgar Badia.
Amidst all the missed chances for the hosts, Sebastian Beccacece’s already-relegated Elche gradually made their presence known. And with nothing to play for, except perhaps pride, they freed themselves from the shackles of expectations and struck the leveller.
Their sporadic efforts paid dividends on the brink of half-time, as Lucas Boye headed a rogue ball past David Soria to unsettle the Azulones.
Despite two defensive substitutes gracing the pitch for Los Franjiverdes after the break, it was Badia still hustling at the back – brilliantly parrying back-to-back dipping freekicks by Unal.
Goalscorer Boye was then denied at the other end from 12 yards by Stefan Mitrović’s fantastic block, as the game opened up heading into the final quarter-hour, before Borja Mayoral spurned a sitter right into Badia’s hands.
Ultimately, neither side got the upper hand in the final minutes, with the result firmly affecting Jose Bordalas’ outfit more than the visitors, as they find themselves still lingering in the relegation mix with three league games to go.
Remarkably, Elche remain the only opponent Getafe have faced at least twice at home in LaLiga without registering a win, with the draw marking a fifth straight winless encounter at the Coliseum for the hosts.