Sevilla 2-1 Real Madrid: Stevan Jovetic late winner ends Real's unbeaten run
By James Kilpatrick
Last Updated: 16/01/17 6:44am
An injury-time winner from Sevilla substitute Stevan Jovetic ended Real Madrid's 40-game unbeaten run and blows the La Liga title race wide open.
After a cagey first half, Real Madrid took a 66th minute lead through a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty after Dani Carvajal was brought down by Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico.
But Jorge Sampaoli's men emerged as the winners thanks to an own goal from Sergio Ramos and former Mancester City forward Jovetic's late winner.
The result means Real Madrid top the La Liga table by just one point, with Sevilla up to second ahead of Barcelona, who beat Las Palmas 5-0 on Saturday afternoon.
With Real Madrid in a 3-5-2 formation and Sevilla an uncharacteristic 4-2-3-1, the first half began in a cagey fashion in front of a hostile atmosphere inside the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
With Sevilla looking to dominate possession and Real happy to hit on the counter-attack, it took until the 18th minute for the game’s first real chance as a Samir Nasri corner was narrowly headed over the bar by former Blackburn midfielder Steven N’Zonzi. And just moments afterwards, the Manchester City loanee had an attempt on goal himself which he smashed well over.
With Real biding their time to create goalscoring opportunities, their first arrived in the shape of Ronaldo who latched onto a Kroos pass and drilled a shot on goal which Rico got down to quickly parry the ball away.
Arguably the best chance of the first half fell to Ronaldo. On the left flank, Benzema spun in behind into the channel and fizzed his low cross in for the Portugal international who couldn’t get enough purchase on the ball, scuffing his shot wide.
After a couple of Real Madrid attacking efforts which included a curled effort from Marcelo that went narrowly wide and Ronaldo forcing Rico into two double saves, the second half really came to life 20 minutes in when Real Madrid won a penalty after Carvajal was hauled down in the penalty box by Rico.
Ronaldo, the newly-awarded FIFA World Player of the Year, was unnerved on the spot and converted his penalty to register his 12th league goal of the season, just one behind Barcelona's Lionel Messi.
With Sevilla pushing for an equaliser, the game became far scrappier. But Sampaoli made two attacking substitutions in Jovetic and Pablo Sarabia, which had a significant impact on the match.
Sarabia created Sevilla’s leveller as his curled cross from a free-kick was met by Ramos who nodded the ball into his own goal, much to the delight of Sevilla’s fans who were taunted by him in the Copa del Rey tie on Thursday night.
And in the dying minutes of the match, Jovetic, who only joined the club on loan from Inter Milan on January 10, would prove to be the hero after picking up a pass from the lively Sergio Escudero and powerfully curled his effort into the top corner. Navas got a hand to the shot but it wasn’t enough to change the flight of the ball.
The goal proved to be one of the final moments of the game as Sevilla secured a crucial victory to keep them well in the title race, while ending Real Madrid’s remarkable run.