Talk about rewriting the headlines. With the match slipping away at halftime, Real Madrid showed resilience and fighting spirit to pull off an astonishing second-half comeback at the home of Sevilla to secure all three points and open up a 15-point lead on the chasing pack. A game of two halves indeed.
Sevilla’s first-half display was bettered by Real Madrid’s second-half heroics. Los Blancos rose from the dead to hand the Rojiblancos their first defeat at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan this La Liga season, ending a run of 15 unbeaten home matches.
Real Madrid traveled to the Estadio Ramon Stadium, looking to strengthen their grip on the first position in the La Liga table. Los Blancos are 12 points clear of second-placed Barcelona, who have two games in hand, and third-placed Sevilla at the summit. The Rojiblancos are battling to remain in the top four.
In February, Sevilla and Real Madrid were the top two teams in La Liga. The Rojiblancos were within touching distance of Los Blancos. They embarked on a fearsome unbeaten streak and looked like serious contenders for the Primera Division. However, a four-game winless run between March and April dashed their title hopes.
The Rojiblancos have not finished higher than fourth place in La Liga since 2009. They recently suffered the ignominy of being knocked out of the Europa League by Westham and are now squarely focused on finishing the season in a strong position.
Sevilla have a remarkable home form this season. They are unbeaten at home and have picked up 37 points from their 15 home league matches. Their opponents Real Madrid, boast the best away record in the Spanish top flight this season, having claimed 35 points from 15 away games.
The side boasting the division’s best defensive record welcomed the league’s most prolific side. Spectators could only hope for an enthralling contest, and they were not disappointed. The first chance fell to Manchester United loanee Anthony Martial in the 10th minute. His shot fizzed narrowly wide, but it set the tone for a very tense clash.
Sevilla were on top in the opening half, and it only took 21 minutes for them to mark their territory. Former Barcelona man Ivan Rakitic brought the house down with a picture-perfect through-the-wall freekick which flew undisturbed into the bottom left corner.
Four minutes later, the Andalusians were on the counter-attack, looking to hurt Madrid even further, and they did. Erik Lamela pounced on a defensive mishap and slotted home a low drive, and just like that, Sevilla were in firm control of the tie. A rather uncharacteristic first period saw Real Madrid head into the break with frowns on their face. They watched as the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan applauded its beloved Nervionenses for a spirited display.
For a team that boasts the best defensive record in all of Spain, one would assume they could see out a two-goal lead and secure victory. While that would be possible in normal circumstances, this was not a normal circumstance, and their opposition had other plans in mind.
Five minutes after the restart, super-sub Brazilian starlet Rodrygo smashed an unstoppable first-time close-range effort into the roof of the net. Madrid got what they needed to push for a comeback, and boy did they push. Eder Militao hit an absolute belter, but Bono was up to the task and kept the Brazilian out. The 65th minute saw Karim Benzema shoot narrowly wide of Bono’s left post, much to the relief of the Sevilla faithful, as the visitors closed in for their second.
The final quarter of an hour began with pure drama. VAR denied Vinicius Junior an almost-obvious goal after spotting a handball in the build-up, and the visitors went berserk. A frustrating decision to take, but the writing was on the wall, Sevilla were under intense pressure, and Madrid’s second goal was a matter of when rather than if.
A few minutes later, another super-sub in Real Madrid stalwart Nacho Fernandez delivered some respite for the visitors by driving in a low shot with his first touch of the match. Vinicius’ disappointment earlier was a thing of the past, and now Los Blancos were gunning for the jugular.
If Sevilla were offered a draw at the beginning of the match, they would have taken it. With the scores level at 2-2 and the finish line in sight, the hosts were stunned as Karim Benzema stole the tie. The Frenchman latched onto Rodrygo’s inch-perfect pass to lash home the winner and take all three points to Madrid.
Real Madrid now lead the pack with 15 points and look on course to secure the La Liga trophy barring any late drop-in form. They are now unbeaten in five consecutive away league matches inflicting Sevilla’s second league defeat since November last year.