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La Liga 2015, Real Madrid vs Sevilla: Match review

Los Blancos won the game they had in hand to improve their advantage over FC Barcelona and Atlético de Madrid, but lost James, Marcelo and, possibly, Ramos for the Madrid derby.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

After losing against Valencia in the first game of the year and the disappointing Copa del Rey elimination, Los Blancos have been able to build a new winning streak that has enabled them to shield their leadership in La Liga. Today's victory, in a game against Sevilla that had been postponed back in December due to Real Madrid's participation in the Club World Cup, serves Los Blancos to increase their advantage over FC Barcelona and Atlético de Madrid, who are now four and seven points below Real Madrid, respectively.

The lineups

Real Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa, Varane, Ramos (Nacho), Marcelo; Kroos, Khedira, Isco (Illarramendi), James (Jesé); Bale, Benzema.

Sevilla: Beto (Sergio Rico); Figueiras, Kolo, Carriço, Navarro; M'Bia, Krychowiak, Iborra; Deulofeu (Aleix Vidal), Vitolo, Bacca (Aspas).

The first half

Unlike in the game against Real Sociedad last Saturday, Los Blancos seemed to start pressing with intensity, although their effort did not suffice to avoid a very clear chance to score that our rivals missed in the early minutes. Sevilla's men were showing a lot of energy and made it very difficult for our midfielders to build Real Madrid's attacks.

The first bad piece of news came in the eighth minute, when Sergio Ramos felt some pain in his hamstring and asked to be subbed off, leaving his spot to Nacho. Right now, it seems unlikely that he will make it to play against Atlético de Madrid on Saturday, although there is still room for hope. Just a couple of minutes later, however, the bitter taste in our mouths turned sweet, as James scored Real Madrid's first goal in the night, with a great header after a cross by Marcelo from the left wing.

Sevilla's men did not drop their guard, and they had a couple of very clear chances shortly afterwards: Iborra hit the goalpost in the eighteenth minute and Casillas brilliantly blocked a shot by Vitolo from the top of the box four minutes later. After that, Los Blancos started to control the tempo of the game, with Toni Kroos, Isco and Benzema shining above everyone else, but their happiness did not last too long, as James Rodríguez had to leave the field with pain in his foot. Jesé Rodríguez, who took his spot, scored Real Madrid's second goal after a very good offensive transition that started with a ball stolen by Isco in Sevilla's side of the field. Benzema and Khedira also had a couple of very good chances before the break, but the third goal did not arrive.

The second half

The second half seemed much more comfortable for Real Madrid, as Sevilla's pressure was not half as intense as it had been before the break, and so the game was totally controlled by our midfielders. Bale was the first to pull the trigger after a great slalom in the right wing, but his shot went wide. Later on, Jesé hit the post, and a few minutes later neither Benzema nor Isco were able to culminate a couple of fantastic collective actions by Los Blancos.

Nevertheless, the third goal never arrived, and things got worse when Marcelo got booked, which means that he will be banned for the Madrid derby on Saturday. But that was not enough: Real Madrid had missed too many chances and the karma paid them back with Sevilla's goal in the eightieth minute, after a fantastic action by Vitolo. The last ten minutes were frenetic, as Sevilla were only a goal below and had two chances to equalize, but Real Madrid defended their advantage with tooth and nail and finally got the three points.

This way, Real Madrid will visit the Calderón next Saturday knowing that, even if they lose the game, they will still keep the leadership, but getting a victory would be a great step towards winning the trophy. Carlo Ancelotti will have to work hard to find the right lineup to face our neighbors given the big number of unavailable players for that game.

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