Real Madrid 2-2 Sevilla (Asensio & Hazard). An eventful draw... Here is the immediate reaction. On the way: player ratings, press conference highlights, and the podcast.
The objective for Real Madrid was simple: win today and the position at the top of the table would belong to them with just three games left to play. The ideal 0-0 result between current leaders Atlético Madrid and incessant challengers Barcelona gifted Madrid a golden chance to make their mark on an unusual season that will live long in the memory. Out of every team on the fixture list fans might want this chance to fall against, Sevilla would not be one of the favourites. For this reason the line-up was predictably strong, with Marcelo involved replacing Ferland Mendy, and captaining the side in-place of Sergio Ramos - both unavailable. Three Castilla players controversially remained on the bench in Diego Altube, Miguel Gutiérrez and Antonio Blanco - thus missing the most important Castilla match of the season (luckily they still managed a win and made the promotion play-offs).
✅ Our starting XI @SevillaFC_ENG! #RealMadridSevillaFC pic.twitter.com/WjCH8aG3on— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) May 9, 2021
Karim Benzema looked to calm the nerves early on with a headed effort which beat the keeper, but VAR correctly disallowed the goal as crosser Alvaro Odriozola was offside when he received the ball. The team generally started focused and nimble, with Vinícius Júnior looking especially dangerous with the ball at his feet. Things really took a turn when Fernando brought the ball down inside the box and fired past Thibaut Courtois to send Sevilla into the lead just after twenty minutes played... Madrid controlled the play throughout the half, but other than chances from Casemiro and Vinícius - could not muster up anything concrete in attack. To take advantage of this huge opportunity, Los Blancos would have it all to do in the second half...
12' Karim Benzema's opener vs Sevilla is disallowed for offside— Goal (@goal) May 9, 2021
10 minutes later: Real Madrid 0-1 Sevilla pic.twitter.com/XWi7eZbCcH
Searching for a way to win this game was always going to send fans on an emotional journey one way or another. Madrid set out with the attitude of finding that early goal, and came agonisingly close after Vinícius poked the ball just wide to cancel out a strong attacking move. Sevilla also looked to take advantage of the situation often causing hearts to skip a beat on the counter. Fortunately, we did not have to wait too long for some good signs. Benzema stole the ball back around the half way line before combining with substitute Marco Asensio. Toni Kroos and Casemiro got involved as Kroos slotted Asensio in with a really smart pass - met with a smart finish by the Spaniard to level the score. One more was now needed. Moments later, that emotional journey reached its peak. Benzema was sent completely clean through after a counter from a Sevilla corner, and simply had to score. Instead of using the immense amount of time he head to pick his spot, he attempted to round the keeper and went down. The referee used VAR to determine that no penalty should be given. The referee then consulted VAR to view a potential handball from that initial Sevilla corner, and ended up pointing to the spot. Ivan Rakitić made no mistake sending Courtois the wrong way to give Sevilla the lead once more. Eden Hazard came on as a last throw of the dice, and Madrid managed to sneak an equaliser in through a deflected Kroos shot during added time**. Casemiro came so close to stealing the win right at the death, but his shot curled just wide. The score finished 2-2.
omg— Managing Madrid (@managingmadrid) May 9, 2021
This game ended up being a monumental opportunity wasted. One that may not come again in the mere three games remaining of the season. Madrid sit in second place with 75 points, two behind leaders Atlético. They now have to win the final matches, alongside hoping for results to go their way elsewhere. After all of the magical title hope revivals throughout the campaign, this could well be the final nail in the coffin - but there is still hope after the late equaliser from Toni Kroos**. Be sure to catch the post game podcast, and any other post game content put out on the ManagingMadrid channels. How gutted are you, Madrid fans? Is there still hope?
- **The deflection was actually contact with Eden Hazard’s leg, meaning he was officially awarded the goal despite knowing little about it at the time.