BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Granada's Youseff El Arabi scored a hat trick to steer the home side to a 3-1 win over Malaga in the Spanish league on Friday.
Granada forward Yacine Brahimi also shone in his team's third victory in four rounds by setting up two of El Arabi's goals after the striker opened three minutes into the second half following an error by Malaga's defense.
"This one is to take home," El Arabi said when he was given the ball he had placed in the net three times at Los Carmenes Stadium. El Arabi was left unmarked to push in a rebound after goalkeeper Willy Caballero denied Fran Rico, who had stolen a poor pass by Malaga defender Marcos Angeleri in front of the area.
Malaga's Juanmi Jimenez came on in the 54th and leveled the score seconds later, but El Arabi then redirected Brahimi's squared pass to restore the hosts' lead. El Arabi took his third goal in the 77th when Brahimi drew in the defense before using a no-look pass to slip the ball back to his striker to fire past Caballero.
Granada provisionally moved level on points with Real Sociedad in seventh place. Malaga, meanwhile, was left mid-table and winless in seven away games this season. Elsewhere, Almeria won 1-0 at Osasuna as the promoted club continued its turnaround with a third straight victory.
After starting the season without a win in the first 10 rounds, Almeria has squeaked out its trio of victories by one goal each to escape last place. Almeria again had in-form striker Rodrigo Rios to thank for the 18th-minute winner with his team-leading seventh goal of the campaign.
Rios got a lot of help from Osasuna goalkeeper Andres Fernandez who fumbled a corner kick inside the six-yard box for the striker to toe across the goal line. Almeria goalie Esteban Suarez saved teammate Hernan Pellarano from scoring an own goal in first-half injury time when he reacted in time to stretch and push a deflected ball onto his post.
Sixteen-year-old Jose Garcia debuted for Osasuna as a substitute and almost grabbed the equalizer with an individual effort one minute from time. "Three for three is great for us. Ten weeks without a win is a long time," said Almeria defender Nelson Tomar. "The important thing is that the team is feeling more confident because the season is long, especially for a team like us that has just come up."
Pacesetter Barcelona visits Real Betis on Sunday with a one-point lead over Atletico Madrid, which plays at fourth-place Villarreal. Real Madrid is in third place trailing Barcelona by six points as it heads into its home match against Sociedad on Saturday.
Also this weekend, it's: Getafe vs. Elche, Athletic Bilbao vs. Levante, Celta Vigo vs. Rayo Vallecano, Espanyol vs. Sevilla, and Valencia vs. Valladolid.