Pato on song as Villarreal sweep aside Sporting

Villarreal kept the pressure on LaLiga's top three as Alexandre Pato inspired them to a 3-1 victory away to Sporting Gijon.The Yellow Submarine had just won one of their previous seven matches away from home in the league and scored only five goals, but reversed the form guide in spectacular fashion at El Molinon.Jonathan dos Santos and Nicola Sansone put the visitors 2-0 up at the break and Pato got the goal he deserved with 16 minutes to go before Carlos Carmona pulled one back for Sporting, who remain in deep trouble and have won only one of their last 13 league games.Villarreal were ahead after 10 minutes as Roberto Soriano cut the ball across the area from the left to Dos Santos, who had the time and space to take a touch and rifle a shot high inside Pichu Cuellar's near post.Pato was a constant threat and some intricate footwork combined with a slice of luck took him through the centre of the Sporting defence, but Cuellar spread himself to block.The visitors' second arrived in the 19th minute as Pato's angled shot after a slaloming run seemed destined for the net, but Sansone made sure to tap home from a yard. The Brazilian looked somewhat put out that Sansone had stolen his thunder.Isma Lopez wasted Sporting's best chance when he fired high over the bar from Moi Gomez's cross and Sporting were at sixes and sevens defensively. Manu Trigueros released Sansone who rounded Cuellar, but Jorge Mere made a last-ditch tackle. Somehow Sporting gave the ball away again within seconds, and this time Pato's low drive was just off-target.Sansone made amends, if they were needed, to Pato as the Italian forward crossed low from the left to leave the Brazilian an easy job of sidefooting past Cuellar from close range for the third goal.Carmona added a consolation in the final minute as he got his head in the way of a Bruno Soriano clearance and the ball looped up and over Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo.