Sunday 17 May 2015 20:49, UK
Vicente Iborra scored twice in the space of five minutes to give Sevilla a 2-1 win over 10-man Almeria and all but condemn the visitors to relegation from the Primera Division.
Thievy Bifouma had given Sergi Barjuan's side the lead in the first half but their hard work was undone in the second half by Iborra's deadly strikes from inside the area, and their task was made even harder as Angel Trujillo was sent off with 15 minutes remaining.
Sevilla move to just one point behind Valencia in the race for fourth spot thanks to this win, but Almeria drop from 16th to 19th and now need a miracle to avoid relegation. They must beat Valencia next week and hope other results also go their way.
Almeria lost their last outing 2-1 at home to Malaga but created more chances than their opponents, and they also took the initiative here in the first half, dominating possession and pinning Sevilla back into their own half.
The hosts did however create the first opening, when Kevin Gameiro latched onto a long ball over the top on the right hand side, but the Frenchman could only shoot straight at Ruben Martinez.
The visitors got the goal their brave display deserved on 36 minutes thanks to splendid one-two between the two African forwards Thievy and Jonathan Zongo, with the former appearing at the far post to tuck his team-mate's square pass low and beyond Sergio Rico.
Sevilla came out into the second half with a new-found energy but they could have conceded a second 10 minutes after the re-start.
Thievy knocked a high ball down towards Zongo at the far post, and the forward's shot bounced off the far post and out. Both managers then made changes that would have a profound effect on the game.
Almeria's influential captain Miguel Angel Corona was taken off for Ramon Azeez, perhaps because he was on a booking, while Emery made an attacking double change, bringing on Iago Aspas and Benoit Tremoulinas for Fernando Navarro and Alejandro Arribas.
The effect was immediate. Tremoulinas began his attack from the left-hand side and the ball fell to Banega on the right. The Argentinian sent the ball low into the box and it rolled through the legs of Mauro dos Santos and into the path of Iborra, who rammed it home.
Five minutes later, Aspas crossed from the right and Almeria failed to clear properly, allowing Iborra to knock the loose ball in, scoring his ninth goal of the season.
The visitors' collapse was completed just minutes later when Trujillo grappled with Gameiro just past the halfway line, earning a straight red card.