Real Madrid took a decisive step towards the LaLiga Santander title with a 3-2 victory over Sevilla on Sunday evening, yet Los Blancos were made to sweat as they had to come from 2-0 behind to earn the priceless victory.
Carlo Ancelotti must have wondered what on earth he was watching as his team conceded the first two goals in a match for the second time in five days.
Ivan Rakitic put the hosts ahead after just 21 minutes, curling a quite beautiful freekick beyond Thibaut Courtois.
The Croatian midfielder lined up his strike perfectly and it landed just inside the left post, leaving the Belgian stopper no chance of keeping it out.
Within four minutes it was 2-0 to Sevilla, with Los Merengues appearing on the verge of collapse, as Erik Lamela received the ball inside the penalty area and duly smashed the ball into the bottom left corner.
It was a fine finish from a player who isn’t necessarily known for his goalscoring, and it left Real Madrid a mountain to climb, as well as providing title hope to both Sevilla and Barcelona.
That hope, though, wouldn’t last as Los Merengues began the second-half with an urgency that had been missing throughout the opening 45 minutes.
Karim Benzema forced a good save out of Bono from inside the penalty area just three minutes into the second-half.
Rodrygo would then make the breakthrough just two minutes later, firing a powerful shot into the top of the net, continuing what has been a fine week for the Brazilian.
The pressure of holding onto a lead got to the hosts and by the 83rd minute it was 2-2 with Nacho Fernandez scoring a rare goal.
Nacho was in an unusual position in the opposing penalty area, but took full advantage by slamming the ball into the middle of the net from close range after some good work by Dani Carvajal.
Sevilla thought they had done enough to hold onto a point, but there was to be one final dramatic twist, completely following the script for Benzema’s Hollywood season.
The French forward controlled a pass inside the penalty area expertly before cutting inside and powering the ball into the right-side of the net, completing the turnaround and putting Real Madrid an almost unassailable 15 points clear.
Real Madrid visit Sevilla in a mouth-watering encounter at the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan on Sunday, with Los Blancos looking to well and truly pull away from one of their title rivals. Madrid already hold a 12-point lead over third placed Sevilla, and a win would be yet another big stride towards the LaLiga Santander title. Stay with us here on the live blog for all the pre-match build-up and then minute-by-minute updates from Sevilla vs Real Madrid.
Sevilla vs Real Madrid FULL TIME: 2-3
This is the very beginning of our Sevilla vs Real Madrid live blog, as we bring you all the updates from this Sunday evening meeting at the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan.
Avideo has gone viral on social media showing Karim Benzema drawing the play that Vinicius Junior would carry out, as Real Madrid came back to clinch qualification for the semi-finals of the Champions League after Chelsea had grabbed a three-goal lead in the quarter-final second leg at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
The Brazilian forward listened carefully to the instructions of the experienced French striker, who explained to Vinicius what move he should make and where exactly to put in his cross after he dribbles past his opponent.
Vinicius received the ball on the left-hand side, raised his head and sent the cross exactly where Benzema need it to be in order to head home Real Madrid’s second goal against Chelsea, which proved to be decisive in Los Blancos advancing past last year’s champions, as they won 5-4 on aggregate.
“I didn’t teach Vinicius football,” said Benzema.
“All I did with him was make him change his mind. Before, he had an idea of how to dribble past opponents and then, it was like: ‘We’ll see what I can do’.
“Now he dribbles past opponents knowing whether he will score, cross, get into the box. Everybody this year says ‘Vinicius this, Vinicius that’, but he is the same player as last season.
“The only difference is that he now makes the right decisions. He thinks. This is what I taught him.”
The Benzema-Vinicius duo is currently viewed as one of the best attacking partnerships in European football, with the assist against Chelsea being Vinicius’ ninth for the France international.
Benzema is the second-top scorer in the major five leagues with 38 goals, with a further 13 assists on top, of which seven have been for Vinicius. The Brazilian, meanwhile, has scored 17 goals and provided 13 assists in the 2021/22 campaign.