Belfast Telegraph

West Brom 3 Swansea City 1: Rondon treble powers West Brom towards Euro odyssey

By Mark Staniforth

Salomon Rondon's quickfire hat-trick maintained West Brom's unlikely European charge as he inspired the Baggies to a 3-1 win over Swansea.

The striker netted his first-ever treble for Albion - who featured Northern Ireland duo Gareth McAuley and Chris Brunt - in 13 second-half minutes as the hosts rose to seventh in the Premier League.

Three headers sunk Swansea and Tony Pulis' side have now won four of their last six games and, although the manager refuses to discuss Europe, it remains a growing possibility.

In contrast, defeat left Bob Bradley's Swansea three points from safety and fellow strugglers Middlesbrough, who they travel to on Saturday.

They have just one point from their last seven league away games despite Wayne Routledge's late consolation.

There was little to hint at Rondon's goal rush during a dour first half which took an age to ignite even if Swansea almost fell behind after 16 minutes when Matt Phillips fired wide.

Bradley's side dictated the play but needed to be saved by Lukasz Fabianski nine minutes before the break.

Rondon raced clear but, with just Lukasz Fabianski to beat, he shot much too close to the goalkeeper.

Rondon made up for his misses by completing that 13-minute treble.

First, after 50 minutes, Nacer Chadli was fouled just outside the area and Phillips delivered a teasing free-kick for Rondon to power in a header from six yards.

The 27-year-old doubled Albion's lead to make the game safe on 61 minutes when he converted another close-range header from Brunt's cross.

And, just two minutes later, he grabbed a third with another header which looped over Fabianski from 10 yards.

Routledge netted a consolation when he fired in with 12 minutes left.      

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