Sevilla, Spain, May 3 (EFE).- A last-minute goal by Athletic Bilbao’s Iñaki Williams on Monday evening ended Sevilla’s hopes to stay in the La Liga title contest.
Each team had a number of chances to put the game away, but neither could find the twine until the very last moment, and with the win, Athletic Club keeps its hopes alive for a berth in the European competition.
The match was played at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium before empty stands due to coronavirus gathering restrictions.
Sevilla, playing at home, dominated the match during both halves but could not get on the board against a rival squad that defended very well and took advantage of a last-gasp situation that left the hosts no time to respond before the final whistle.
Julen Lopetegui’s team, after coming off a 2-1 win over Granada, has mathematically assured itself of fourth place in the La Liga season and of getting into the Champions League competition, and are six points behind league leaders Atletico de Madrid but must go up against Real Madrid – in second place – next Sunday.
Sevilla came out strong and almost got on the board in the 7th minute when Lucas Ocampos took a cross from Suso Fernandez but sent it over the net.
Youssef En-Nesyri swooped in for another Sevilla shot-on-goal – this one a header – but Athletic netminder Unai Simon provided a magnificent one-handed deflection, subsequently grabbing the ball for the save.
Just after the break, Asier Villalibre had a good chance for Athletic but fired wide, and thereafter Sevilla ratcheted up their effort in the hunt for a tally, with En-Nesyri once again dispatching a shot-on-goal that didn’t connect.
Athletic, though, despite having many of its key players on the injured list, fully capitalized on a last-minute – and seemingly desperate – Sevilla drive with Williams counterattacking with a curving shot that went right into the top corner, sealing the contest.
It was the sixth time Marcelino Garcia Toral’s Athletic had visited Sevilla this season – twice to play Betis and thrice to play La Cartuja.
Sevilla: Bono; Jesus Navas, Kounde, Diego Carlos (Oscar Rodriguez, m.85), Acuña; Fernando, Rakitic (De Jong, m.68); Suso (Jordan, m.68), Papu Gomez (Oliver Torres, m.85), Ocampos; and En-Nesyri (Franco Vazquez, m.81).
Athletic: Unai Simon; De Marcos (Lekue, m.69), Unai Nuñez, Yerai, Balenziaga; Berenguer (Ibai Gomez, m.63), Vencedor, Vesga, Morcillo (Nico Williams, m.63), Raul García (Sancet, m.14) and Villalibre (Iñaki Williams, m.69).
Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano showed a yellow card to Sevilla’s Diego Carlos (m.35).