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Both Real Madrid and Sevilla came into this game knowing that a win today for either side will throw the victors right in the conversation for being crowned champions.

Sevilla saw much more of the ball in the opening ten minutes without creating any real chance, with Real seemingly happy to concede the ball. That changed in the 11th minute as Alvaro Odriozola ran onto Vinicius’ fast pass before lifting a cross for Karim Benzema in the box. The Frenchman’s header seemed to catch the Sevilla goalkeeper unaware as he was beaten at his near post. The celebrations were premature, however, as Odriozola was adjudged to have strayed offside and the score remained all square.



The Andalusians took the lead midway through the half as Ivan Rakitic’s knockdown from a Jesus Navas cross following a cleverly worked free-kick found Fernando. The midfielder faked his shot first time to evade Casemiro before firing past Courtois. Barring a few more half-chances for either side, that was all she wrote as the first half drew to a close.



Madrid started the second half brightly and had the first shot on target with Luka Modric rasping shot from 25 yards pushed away by Bounou. Their dominance on the ball continued as Vinicus inexplicably poked a shot wide from two yards out after some beautiful linkup play between Kroos and Modric. The goal did arrive soon enough, and it was Kroos again who slid in Marco Asensio and the substitute made no mistake, curling it in at Bounou’s near post.



Few minutes of madness followed as first, a corner by Sevilla was cleared by Real who went right up the pitch and earned a penalty after Bounou fouled Benzema one-on-one. But VAR intervened soon after, as Eder Militao was deemed to have handled the ball as the Sevilla corner was swung in. After consulting the pitch side monitor, the referee overturned Madrid’s penalty and awarded Sevilla one. To rub further salt in the Madrid wounds, former Barcelona man Rakitic coolly dispatched the spot kick to make it 2-1.



But Madrid kept chipping away and in the fifth minute of injury time, Kroos’ long range drive deflected off the legs of substitute Eden Hazard before nestling in the back of the net. That goal would ultimately be ruled in favour of the Belgian and Los Blancos did have a chance to win all three points but Casemiro’s carefully curling shot flew inches past the post as it ended all square.

Here are our three key takeaways:



Zinedine Zidane’s men, already depleted by numerous injuries to their key defensive men, were tired off the blocks as Sevilla dominated for the majority of the first half. With half the squad playing in midweek against Chelsea, the weight of minutes was clearly evident on their midfield veterans.



Another veteran Marcelo was simply poor, and it was his lapse in defending which allowed Navas to cross the ball from which the visitors opened the scoring. Though they improved markedly in the second half, and even managed to draw level. But Rakitic’s penalty seemed to have left Los Blancos’ empty-handed before Hazard unwittingly deflected Kroos’ shot to earn Zidane a share of the spoils in this momentous encounter.



Julien Lopetegui, serving a one match touchline ban, was an entire cascade of emotions throughout the match as his side grabbed a well-deserved lead. Sevilla outplayed the hosts for 45 minutes, but the second half was a different story. They hardly got a kick in till the 70th minute, and after taking the lead again through a contentious penalty, it was evident that the pressure to hold on to that would be immense.



Indeed, Madrid attacked in droves for the remainder of the match and some would say, got their just reward in the last minute of the match to break Sevilla hearts and turn three points into one. It could have been worse for Lopetegui’s men but Casemiro saw his effort whistle wide with the last shot of the game.



With this point, Madrid climbed above Barcelona into second given their better head-to-head record. Both the teams trail Atletico by two points, with just three match days left. Sevilla remain six points adrift of the leaders and are all but out of title contention. Though who among the top three will ultimately end up as champions of Spain is an altogether different story.

Ratul Ghosh
His name means Red and a fan of devilish food, which equals to his favourite team being Manchester United. Can be found sleeping or in front of the TV otherwise. Hates waking up early but loves staying up late for football.

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