Dating back to last season, the last 34 squads who marched into Sevilla's Estadio Sánchez Pizjuán left without a win. But that changed Saturday as Real Madrid beat Sevilla 2-3. This match featured clinical finishing, pace, and comedic errors for the full 90 minutes, and when the final whistle went, Real Madrid looked happy to have survived Sevilla's relentless attack.
Sevilla's fortress was electric from the start, but Real Madrid controlled the game early on. The first real action came eight minutes in when a Marcelo cross met Ronaldo's foot, but Sergio Rico made an outstanding reflexion save to deny him. It proved to be foreshadowing for Real Madrid's tactics the rest of the way.
Real played with breadth, often hitting long passes from wing to wing early on. In defense, Real Madrid toyed with an unorthodox offside trap for a bit, which I suppose worked as Sevilla were caught offside five times throughout the match. Around the 30 minute mark, Sevilla midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak collided in the air with Sergio Ramos. He picked up a head injury and went to the sidelines to be treated, and Sevilla's manager Unai Emery took a while to decide whether to sub him off or not. This opened the door for Real Madrid.
Playing with a temporary man advantage, Real pressed, and Isco put in a cross from the edge of the box which Ronaldo headed across his body and into the net. Ronaldo ran down the touchline and bear-hugged Coentrão on the bench, much to the chagrin of his detractors.
A minute later, James was on the right wing and put in a ball with pace to the center of Sevilla's box. Chicharito met it first and brilliantly head-flicked (if that's a thing) it on, and Ronaldo finished it off. All seemed to be going well for Real as they were up 0-2, but the first half had another goal in it.
Sergio Ramos was playing in his newly-acquired defensive midfielder role, but still spent much of his time tracking back. With seconds left before halftime, Aleix Vidal ran through Madrid's box, and Ramos clumsily fouled him. It was an undisputed penalty and yellow card, and Carlos Bacca easily converted from the spot.
Real started the second half how the ended the first, with a bit of lethargy, but it wouldn't last.
Gareth Bale come on for Chicharito with 25 minutes left, and on his first touch in two weeks, he zig-zagged on the wing and put in a brilliant cross to Ronaldo. Ronaldo perfectly head-lobbed (which also might not be a thing) across the touchline and into the net, completing his hat-trick.
With the two goal lead restored, Real Madrid looked to effectively end the game, especially as Real's Human Full Time Whistle Asier Illarramendi came on for Isco. But Sevilla refused to go away. After passing through Real's midfield, Vidal ran past Marcelo into the box, and picked out Vicente Iborra for Sevilla's second. Both Casillas and Marcelo should have done much better, but the countdown was on: Sevilla had 12 minutes to keep their streak alive.
But Sevilla had no more magic, and Real Madrid took a precious three points away from home to keep pace with Barça.
With Ramos back in the midfield, one has to imagine Ancelotti was re-adjusting him to the role ahead of this week's Champions League tie. Gareth Bale looked fresh as a daisy, and was commanding in his time on the pitch, and one has to also figure he'll start against Juve. Marcelo was overexcited in attack and therefore was a liability in defense, which sounds about right.
Real Madrid have now won seven games on the trot in La Liga.