Real Madrid and Sevilla played out a dramatic 2-2 draw that has thrown up so many talking points. Here comes a look at the questions that were answered and the refereeing controversies that are now being discussed in the aftermath.
1. Could Real Madrid capitalise on the Camp Nou draw?
After the goalless draw between Barcelona and Atlético Madrid on Saturday, there was a lot of celebrating in Real Madrid circles. Suddenly the title was in their hands, as four wins from the final four games would guarantee Los Blancos top spot. So, could they capitalise? Well, no. This was always going to be a tough game given Sevilla’s quality and Real Madrid’s absences and it’s just a draw for Zinedine Zidane’s side. That means Atleti stay top for a 27th matchday in a row. If Atleti win their final three matches, they’re now guaranteed the title.
2. Would Hazard respond to his critics?
Between the Chelsea game and this one, Eden Hazard was the centre of attention. Not just because of the controversy created from the images of him laughing, but also because of how ineffective his performance at Stamford Bridge was in general. So, how would he respond? He already published an Instagram apology, but would he now do some talking on the pitch? Well, he wasn’t given a start and didn’t come on until the 79th minute. The Belgian had a poor control that gave Sevilla a throw-in shortly after coming on, but then got a bit of a lucky touch on Toni Kroos’ shot to direct it past Bono. That won’t be enough to win back most Real Madrid fans, but it’s a start. Let’s see if he now starts midweek in Granada.
3. How would Marcelo and Odriozola manage the flanks?
Due to injuries, Real Madrid had to go with Marcelo and Álvaro Odriozola in the full-back roles this game, which is always a cause for concern for fans. They weren’t bad in general and Odriozola put in a very good cross in the first half for Benzema to score… only for the goal to be ruled out because the Basque had been offside. But, they were the ones responsible for conceding the first Sevilla goal as they were both marking Ivan Rakitić, before completely leaving the Croatian to allow him to set up Fernando.
1. Did the referees get the big penalty call right?
This is obviously the big post-match question. After Juan Martínez Munuera went to look at the VAR monitor with a quarter of an hour to go, he was definitely going to award a penalty. It was just a question of for who. Sevilla wanted one for an Éder Militão handball, while Real Madrid wanted one for the foul on Karim Benzema in the resulting breakaway. The referee’s decision was to give the Militão handball one, thus cancelling the Benzema incident entirely. Was that the right call? By the current handball rule, yes. That is a penalty. Another question is whether some other similar incidents have been called the same way. On other instances, incidents like that have been ignored.
2. Why is nobody talking about the Casemiro freekick?
The penalty incident is the main talking point. But, as mentioned above, I believe the penalty call tonight was actually right. But, almost nobody is talking about the first Sevilla goal, when the visitors were given a freekick for a Casemiro challenge on Joan Jordán that didn’t look like a foul. The Brazilian then protested and even got booked for his arguments, just 21 minutes into the game. That was costly.
3. Can Kroos carry Real Madrid over the final three matches?
Toni Kroos was outstanding in this game, from start to finish. At this moment, he looks to be the only of the starting midfield trio who isn’t completely exhausted. Casemiro and Luka Modrić look drained, so can Kroos carry this midfield and lead Real Madrid to the title? There are three matches remaining to be played over the next two weeks. Real Madrid need some energy. Kroos is one of the few who seems to have any right now.