Soriano returns in Villarreal-Sevilla draw

Former Spain international Bruno Soriano returned to soccer after three years on Monday as Villarreal and Sevilla drew 2-2 in the Spanish league on Monday.

Soriano came on as a late substitute to make his first appearance with Villarreal since May 2017 following recurring injuries.

The 36-year-old midfielder, a member of Spain's squad at the 2016 European Championship, was expected to miss the rest of the season but was able to recover during the pandemic break.

"I'm not going to lie, at times I thought about giving up, there were too many disappointments in a row," an emotional Soriano said after. "I'm very happy to have gotten this opportunity again."

Soriano's teammates cheered loudly when he returned to the dressing room at La Ceramica Stadium. He went around thanking them one by one as they kept chanting.

Soriano's return didn't help Villarreal pick up the home win, though, as they twice relinquished the lead to remain in sixth place with seven rounds left. They could drop to eighth after the round is over.

Sevilla moved to third with the draw but could lose the position again if Atletico Madrid beat Levante away on Tuesday.

Paco Alcacer put the hosts ahead from close range in the 18th minute but Sergio Escudero equalised in the 39th with a low shot from outside the area.

Pau Torres' header in first-half stoppage time gave Villarreal the lead again, but Sevilla evened the match with Munir El Haddadi's beautiful angled volley from inside the box in the 63rd.

Villarreal, who had lost three straight, were back in eighth place before the league was suspended. But they have won all of their three matches since the league's resumption against Celta Vigo, Mallorca and Granada - all by 1-0.

Sevilla were coming off a 0-0 home draw against Barcelona for their second consecutive draw.

Barcelona and Real Madrid are tied at the top but the latter have a better goal difference and a better head-to-head record.

They next host relegation-threatened Mallorca on Wednesday, while defending champions Barcelona are at home to Athletic Bilbao on Tuesday.

Also on Monday, second-to-last-place Leganes drew with midtable Granada 0-0. Miguel Angel Guerrero missed a 65th-minute penalty for Leganes.