La Liga 2016/17: Sevilla beat Real Madrid: 5 Talking Points

The race for the La Liga title got a little more interesting as Jorge Sampaoli’s men ended Real Madrid’s record-breaking 40-game unbeaten run, fighting back with two late goals to walk away with crucial three points. It was not an easy contest, with both sides adopting new tactics on the night to put each other to the full test following the Copa del Rey encounters.

Chances were hard to come by for both teams, before Cristiano Ronaldo broke the deadlock for the visitors with a penalty in the 67th minute.
But it was the fightback and determination from the Andalusian side in the closing stages of the match that snatched them a dramatic winner. Sergio Ramos, who had all eyes on him following his late heroics, blew away the lead with an own goal, before Stefan Jovetic scored a sublime curler to seal an important victory. 
The result hasn't changed much at the top of the order, with Real Madrid still on top with 40 points and a game in hand, while Sevilla pip Barcelona to second place. 
5 Sevilla proving to be no pushovers
In recent years, the dominant three of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have been shoulder to shoulder in La Liga, but the current Sevilla side is an example of the tortoise and hare tale.
Sevilla have built up a reputation of being a strong cup side, winning three Europa League titles, but they had been disappointing in the domestic race under Unai Emery. However, new manager Jorge Sampaoli has revived the club’s status again despite the departures of a few key players this season, and is showing why his side are the real deal.
At the Ramon Sachez Pizjuan, Sevilla have now won eight out of nine games – their only defeat coming against Barcelona.
4 Jorge Sampaoli has the last laugh
The Argentine manager is always an animated figure on the sidelines, but Sampaoli should be credited for his well-prepared tactics. It was going to take more than just strategy to put an end to the winning run of Real Madrid and he did just that. 

Sticking to his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, Sampaoli looked well prepared to tackle Madrid’s high pressing and quick tempo game. His side did their best to contain the visitors and to transition in major parts of the game and find openings from all corners of the pitch.
Meanwhile, Zidane experimented with a 3-5-2 formation for the first time, which also nearly paid off against Sevilla’s major dominance in midfield, denying the home side any chances in the final third. But the former Chile manager’s side matched their visitors toe-to-toe, dispossessing them on many occasions and finding space in their opposition’s three-man defence, which eventually rewarded them. 
3 Not the usual Cristiano Ronaldo
While individual brilliance may be an important factor to achieve fame on the big stage, Ronaldo’s vital contributions in big games have reduced significantly. 
The Real Madrid talisman had a tough game up front along with Karim Benzema, where he was dispossessed, brought down too easily and also missed sitters in front of goal. Frustration was clearly evident when he retaliated by throwing the ball at Vitolo, for trying to put him off before Madrid’s penalty.
But the Portuguese superstar converted his penalty by sending Sergio Rico the wrong way.
The penalty made the Ballon d’Or winner equal Hugo Sanchez’s feat of the most penalties in La Liga, with 56 to his name. But given that the Andalusian outfit has been one of Ronaldo’s goal scoring victims, with as many as five hat tricks against them, a lot was expected from the show stopper, who seemed to have lost his sheen in crunch games. 
2 Sevilla’s clever subs turn the tale of the game
Until the 81st-minute, everything was hunky-dory for the visitors who seemed to deny Sevilla any chance in their own box, despite a better performance in the second half. However, the Argentine manager made a few changes which made a huge impact on the game.
Trailing by a goal, Sampaoli brought on Pablo Sarabia for holding midfielder Vincente Iborra, who was already on a yellow card, and signalled Sevilla’s intent of attacking despite Madrid creating better offensive chances.
Stevan Jovetic was another influential figure to make an impact after he was brought on for Wissam Ben Yedder, who failed to bury the chances with the service up front. And they took no time to threaten the Madrid backline, mainly with Steve N’Zonzi threading Sarabia long balls on the right.
Real Madrid were on the back foot after Sergio Ramos’ own goal which led Jovetic to strike the iron when hot, eventually helping him mark his first league appearance with a dramatic winner. 
1 A bitter homecoming for Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos had a night to forget against his former club; the Madrid defender was booed at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan by the home fans whenever he got the ball. But the Spanish international – who scored a panenka kick from the penalty box in Thursday’s 3-3 Copa Del Rey draw – had a big say in the game when he made a costly mistake to help Sevilla’s comeback.
His late headers have been grabbing the headlines, but last night, the former Seville man headed the ball in the wrong direction. His costly error further ignited the spark for Sevilla to search for the winner, and the captain had to witness his side falter despite having a stranglehold of the game at one point.
Source: All Football 

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