Everton striker under fire Salomon Rondon made a sensational return to international football for Venezuela by scoring a hat-trick in their 4-1 win over Bolivia in a World Cup qualifier.
Rondon, who was snapped up for free by Rafa Benitez on transfer deadline day last summer, having previously played for the Spaniard at both Newcastle United and Chinese side Dalian Pro, has endured miserable form this season for the Blues, scoring just once in 15 appearances so far, in the 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace in December.
However, having not featured for his country since scoring in the 2-1 win over Chile on November 17, 2020, the 32-year-old returned from his 14-month exile in spectacular fashion with a hat-trick at the Estadio Agustin Tovar. in Barinas.
The Everton centre-forward put Venezuela on the right path with a header close to the post from Oscar Gonzalez’s raised cross in the 25th minute and doubled their advantage 10 minutes later, winning the ball back in the ‘ D’, stepping into the box and firing a low right-footed shot into the bottom right corner of the goal.
A header from Bruno Miranda for Bolivia reduced the backlog three minutes later, but after Darwin Machis restored the hosts’ two-goal cushion 10 minutes into the second half following a defensive confusion, Rondon completed the rout midway through the second half with a smart first. arrival time of the right foot just outside the penalty area.
The Blues player was replaced by Josef Martinez three minutes later and despite the win Venezuela remain bottom of the 10-nation South American qualifying group with 10 points from 15 appearances and just three games to play, including the trip Tuesday in Uruguay.
Rondon’s feat makes him the first Everton player to score a hat-trick in international competition since Golden Boot winner Gary Lineker netted three against Poland in the 1986 World Cup final in Mexico .
Meanwhile, Goodison Park team-mate Yerry Mina suffered a 1-0 home defeat to Peru with Colombia leaving the hosts sweating over their place in Qatar later this year.