Real Madrid 4-1 Sevilla: Player ratings

Andy West 15/05/2017
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Four points separate Real Madrid from their first league title since 2012, with a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo and a controversial opener from Nacho helping secure a 4-1 victory over Sevilla which was ultimately comfortable but looked touch and go for a long time.

Nacho’s quickly taken free-kick opener will be debated long and hard, but after Ronaldo netted the second Sevilla, who created most of the first half’s best chances, deservedly got themselves back into the game with an excellent strike from Stevan Jovetic just after the break.

The next 25 minutes were nervy as Madrid sat on their one-goal advantage knowing that a mishap could seriously damage their title bid, before Ronaldo conjured a moment of magic to provide a cushion and Toni Kroos netted the fourth.

Below is our ratings from Real’s win over Sevilla.

REAL MADRID

Kaylor Navas 8

Danilo 6

Raphael Varane 6

Sergio Ramos 6

Nacho 7

James Rodriguez 5

Mateo Kovacic 6 (Luka Modric)

Toni Kroos 7

Marco Asensio 7

Alvaro Morata 5 (Lucas Vazquez)

Cristiano Ronaldo 8

SUBSTITUTES

Casemiro for James (61′, 6), Lucas Vazquez for Morata (61′) Luka Modric for Kovacic (72′),

SEVILLA

Sergio Rico 6

Gabriel Mercado 6

Martin Pareja 6

Daniel Caricco 6

Clement Lenglet 6

Michael Krohn-Dehli 7

Matias Kranevitter 5

Steven N’Zonzi 6

Vitolo 7

Stevan Jovetic 8

Joaquin Correa 7

SUBSTITUTES

Walter Montoya for Pareja (45′, 6), Diego Gonzalez Polanco for Correa (89′), Wissam Ben Yedder for Krokn-Dehli (89′)

MAN OF THE MATCH

CRISTIANO RONALDO

Cristiano Ronaldo provided the game’s key moment by unleashing a thunderous strike to restore a two-goal advantage, avoiding a nervous final ten minutes. He had already scored a straightforward tap-in and worked hard all night to cause problems for the Sevilla defence, but his second goal – with his weaker foot – was simply magical.

VERDICT

The final scoreline was flattering for Real Madrid after a game which saw Sevilla compete on an even footing for the first 75 minutes. Los Blancos had to ride their luck as they netted a disputed opener and saw Stevan Jovetic twice strike the woodwork in the first half, but they did well to maintain their composure and regroup after Jovetic made it 2-1, and simply powered away from their opponents towards the end. It’s difficult to imagine Zinedine Zidane’s men slipping up now – this time next week, surely, they will be champions.

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Barcelona facing injury crisis ahead of trip to Las Palmas

Andy West 13/05/2017
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Barcelona are heading into tonight’s trip to Las Palmas with a number of absentees in defence which will have manager Luis Enrique scratching his head over how to configure a back line.

Gerard Pique has been ruled out due to a virus, joining injured duo Jeremy Mathieu and Aleix Vidal and suspended Sergi Roberto on the sidelines.

Those losses leave Enrique especially struggling for a right-back, with usual emergency stand-in Javier Mascherano likely to be needed in the middle alongside Samuel Umtiti.

Enrique could field a back three of Mascherano and Umtiti alongside either Jordi Alba or Lucas Digne, or another option would be to select Mascherano at right-back with Brazilian youngster Marlon Santos coming into the middle for his full debut.

The Barca boss claimed to be confident that he will be able to answer the conundrum against a Las Palmas team who can pose a significant attacking threat on their day, having scored three or more goals on six occasions at home this season.

“We’ve got a lot of players missing, but we have a squad which is prepared for this sort of situation and we will continue to be competitive,” Enrique said. “Marlon is definitely an option.”

Even if Barca win their two remaining games, they still need leaders Real Madrid to drop at least three points in order to retain the title, but Enrique is holding out hope that an eventful season in La Liga still has another twist to come.

“Everyone at the club is in high spirits about exploiting whatever chances we have for the remainder of the season,” he said.

“We will fight for the title until the final day and let’s see what happens. Over the course of history we’ve seen some strange results in the last few games, and anything can happen.”

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Real Madrid vs Sevilla: Talking points

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Real Madrid continue their quest for a first La Liga title in five years at home to fourth-placed Sevilla on Sunday.

Zinedine Zidane’s side currently sit second in the table, level on points with leaders Barcelona, albeit with a game in hand.

Here, we looks at the main talking points ahead of a potentially-crucial match at the Bernabeu.

FIGHTING ON TWO FRONTS

Real have been balancing their attempts to win the Spanish title for the first time since 2012 with trying to become the first team to retain the Champions League.

While rivals Barcelona, who were knocked out of Europe last month, have had seven days’ rest between their last two league fixtures, Zidane’s men have faced two midweek games against neighbours Atletico, the second of which proved a real test.

Real have shown they can cut it in Europe, lifting the Champions League trophy twice in three years, but recent domestic failures mean plenty of question marks surround their ability to challenge at home and abroad.

MORE SEVILLA PUNISHMENT?

Real were unbeaten this season until the reverse fixture in January. They looked on course to continue that record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan until two goals in the final six minutes earned the hosts a 2-1 victory.

The manner of the late loss, courtesy of a Sergio Ramos own goal against his former club and a 90th-minute strike from Stevan Jovetic, will have hurt Real and they will be intent on revenge to move within touching distance of the title.

Sevilla, however, will be in no mood to roll over as they attempt to complete a memorable double by winning at the Bernabeu for the first time in eight seasons.

WILL IN-FORM JAMES HAUNT SEVILLA AGAIN?

James Rodriguez has played an increasingly prominent role in Real’s title bid and he has a fine scoring record against Sevilla. The Colombia international, who has scored five times in his last four outings, has found the back of the net against Los Nervionenses in each of his three seasons at the Bernabeu.

Along with Granada, they are the team he has had most goalscoring success against. He claimed the opener in a 2-1 league victory in 2015, scored a consolation in a 3-2 defeat in Andalusia the following year before bagging a brace during the 3-0 Copa del Rey victory this campaign.

VISITORS COULD ENSURE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

More important than ending their poor record in Madrid, Sevilla can seal a Champions League spot this weekend. A top-four finish is almost certainly assured, but they still need a point to mathematically guarantee it.

Defeat at Real, coupled with victory for Villarreal at home to Deportivo, would leave them requiring a result heading into the final weekend and put them under avoidable pressure. That said, they conclude the campaign at home to relegated Osasuna, a team they would expect to comfortably beat.

SAMPAOLI WILL WANT STRONG FINISH

It was not that long ago that Sevilla were in title contention and manager Jorge Sampaoli was being tipped to move on to bigger and better things.

The Argentinian, in his debut season in Spain after leading Chile to successive Copa America wins, was talked about as a potential successor to Luis Enrique at Barcelona, although that speculation died down amid three league wins from 11 – including a comprehensive loss in the Nou Camp – and Champions League elimination to Leicester.

Sampaoli will no doubt be desperate for Sevilla to finish the campaign in style and restore any damage to his reputation.

Press Association

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