Saturday 4 April 2015 18:04, UK
First-half goals from Aleix Vidal and Carlos Bacca earned Sevilla a sixth straight win in all competitions as they saw off Athletic Bilbao 2-0.
Vidal pounced on a defensive lapse by the visitors to put his side ahead inside three minutes before Bacca demonstrated his physical presence to double the hosts' advantage midway through the first half.
A fourth La Liga win in a row ensured Unai Emery's side kept the pressure on fellow Champions League chasers Atletico Madrid and Valencia, as well as bringing an end to Athletic's five-game winning streak.
Emery had praised Athletic's astute defence before the game, but the visitors' back line was at fault for the opening goal.
Benoit Tremoulinas knocked the ball forward from the halfway line between two Athletic defenders, forcing goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz to come racing out of his area. Vidal arrived first, though, cushioning the ball into his path with a header and then slotting into the empty net.
The defence was caught napping again a few moments later, allowing Vitolo to get on to a through-ball from Nico Pareja on the right hand side of the area, but this time Iraizoz was able to save at the near post.
Grgorz Krychowiak then headed just over the bar from a corner
Athletic looked lost and took almost 20 minutes to create their first opening, a tame shot by Inaki Williams comfortably saved by Sergio Rico.
And they were soon two goals down.
Vicente Iborra received the ball down the right of the area and quickly threaded it inside for Bacca, who burst into the box to beat Xabier Etxeita to the loose ball and tuck his shot under Iraizoz.
Things got worse for the visitors before the break as Iker Muniain left the pitch on a stretcher in obvious pain, having injured his knee. But a club statement later revealed he had suffered a knee strain rather than ligament damage.
Iraizoz denied Bacca another goal on the stroke of half-time.
In the second half Athletic put up more of a fight, but strong efforts from Benat and Williams failed to beat Rico, the keeper able to record a fourth consecutive home clean sheet.