Real Madrid Secures Controversial Draw Against Sevilla
Real Madrid, the league leaders, rallied from behind to draw 1-1 with Sevilla on Saturday thanks to a late header from captain Dani Carvajal. David Alaba's own goal had given the home team the lead.
With three games remaining, Madrid has amassed 25 points from 10 games, three more than Girona, the season's surprise gift, who will play bottom-place Almeria on Sunday. On 21 points, Barcelona sits third and takes on Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
- ESPN+ streams La Liga, Bundesliga, and other events (U.S.)
It was an aggressive match in Seville, where two early denied attempts by Real Madrid after controversial refereeing calls angered them.
The referee was frequently criticised by the Madrid players and manager Carlo Ancelotti during the first half. Initially, the referee disallowed a Federico Valverde goal for an offside during the build-up. Later, Jude Bellingham had the ball in the net, but the official said play had stopped so a Sevilla player could get medical attention. Lastly, they claimed Jesús Navas had fouled Vinicius Junior in the box, but the official saw no foul play.
During his news conference, Ancelotti praised the referee and then acknowledged that he was attempting to avoid being suspended.
"The only path is irony. Ancelotti told Real Madrid TV, "If I say what I think about the refereeing, I'll get a [ban of a] lot of games." After receiving a yellow card for his complaints. "I like to sit on the Real Madrid bench, so to avoid a ban I don't say what I think, and I use irony."
After that, Sevilla began to rally back into the game, and Carvajal saved a close-range shot from Ivan Rakitic to preserve it goalless.
For the first time since rejoining his boyhood squad, defender Sergio Ramos faced the team that earned his reputation. He made a vital goal-line clearance of his own to help Sevilla keep the score tied just before halftime.
Goalkeepers Kepa Arrizabalaga and Orjan Nyland both made outstanding saves to keep their teams in the game throughout the second half.
In the first minute, Real Madrid's Kepa palmed a beautiful long-range effort by Ivan Rakitic around the post, while Sevilla's Nyland produced an incredible reaction stop to deny a Rodrygo point-blank blast.
However, Real fell down due to an own goal in the 74th minute by defender Alaba, who challenged forward Youssef En Nesyri.
But four minutes later, Carvajal tied the score with a powerful header from close range after a cross by Toni Kroos.
After a few skirmishes, the game grew more tense, resulting in five bookings in the closing minutes.
In his post-match press conference, Ancelotti stated, "It was an even, competitive game with intensity." "We had a good start, but we wasted the opportunities. Sevilla performed brilliantly and with energy in the second half. The outcome appears to be correct. We tried, Sevilla tried, and it was a tie."
"With the help of the team, Rodrygo and Vinicius [Junior] created a lot of chances in the first half, and we were close to scoring," he said. We suffered a little bit more, had less energy, and lacked the desired control in the second half of the game.
Sevilla said shortly after the match that it had kicked out a supporter from the stadium and reported the incident to the police for what it described as "xenophobic and racist behaviour." Sevilla did not describe the behaviour or name the intended recipient.