Ukraine striker Dovbyk set to finish Spanish league as the top scorer

Sat, May 25, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Ukraine striker Dovbyk set to finish Spanish league as the top scorer

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Ukraine striker Artem Dovbyk is set to finish the Spanish league as its top scorer after his main challenger fell one goal short of his mark.

Dovbyk, who is expected to play at this summer's European Championship, leads the league in the final round with 24 goals.

Villarreal striker Alexander Sorloth has 23 and had chance to equal Dovbyk during his team's final game when it visited Osasuna on Saturday. But the Norway striker appeared to suffer a leg injury early and had to be substituted without scoring.

Dovbyk was two goals behind Sorloth in the goals race until he bagged a hat trick to fuel a 7-0 rout of Granada on Friday.

Dovbyk's next closest threat is Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham, who has 19 goals before the league champions play Real Betis later Saturday. Robert Lewandowski has 18 before Barcelona visits Sevilla on Sunday in Xavi Hernandez's last game in charge.

Dovbyk joined Girona last summer from Ukrainian club SC Dnipro-1 and helped transform the small club into a European sensation. The Catalan club partly owned by Manchester City's Adu Dhabi ownership qualified for the Champions League for the first time with a third-place finish.

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Villarreal drew at Osasuna 1-1 after Sorloth's replacement, Jose Luis Morales, scored a second-half equalizer.

Osasuna striker Ante Budimir, who is on Croatia's Euro 2024 squad, netted his first goal since recovering from fractured ribs to give the hosts a first-half lead. He finished the league with 17 goals.

Villarreal finished the league in eighth place, just missing out on a Europa Conference League berth.

Villarreal will likely conclude the campaign with the league's top assist-maker. Midfielder Alex Baena, who could be on Spain's Euros 2024 squad, made it 14 assists by setting up Morales. Villarreal said that tied a club record set by Juan Riquelme.

The game also featured the farewell of coach Jagoba Arrasate after his six years at Osasuna. Arrasate announced in March that he turned down the offer of a contract extension, saying he needed a fresh start.

Arrasate signed with Osasuna in 2018 when it was in the second division and immediately helped it return to the top flight. Osasuna enjoyed one of its best seasons in 2022-23 when it reached the Copa del Rey final.

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