Madrid, May 9 (EFE).- Real Madrid squandered an opportunity on Sunday to move into a tie on points with crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid, who sit stop the La Liga table, but they did manage to salvage a 2-2 draw in extra time against Sevilla.
Atletico and Barcelona had battled to a scoreless draw at Camp Nou on Saturday, thus providing Real Madrid with a chance to pull even with the league leaders but Sevilla got on the board first at Alfredo di Stefano stadium on a tally by Fernando in the 22nd minute.
The match was played to empty stands due to coronavirus gathering restrictions.
With Sevilla having scored the only goal by the break, Marco Asensio managed to bring Real level in the 67th minute.
Midfielder Ivan Rakitic got Sevilla out in front once again in the 78th minute on the penalty kick, and then Toni Kroos had his shot on goal deflected off Eden Hazard’s foot four minutes into stoppage time with the ball finding the twine for the draw.
The capital squad was eager to move up into a tie for the No. 1 slot but also to overcome their Champions League elimination by Chelsea last week. Coach Zinedine Zidane decided on a change of pace for Sunday’s match, sending in fullback Alvaro Odriozola, Marcelo and Federico Valverde in the starting 11.
Just 12 minutes into play, Odriozola sent a nice crossing shot to Karim Benzema, who headed it into the net, but the former was ruled offside before making the pass and the goal disallowed.
Then the first tally came when Rakitic headed a crossing shot to Fernando, who coolly waited for the prime moment and then sent a left-footed blast past netminder Thibaut Courtois.
In the second half, Madrid began to exert an increasing amount of pressure on their rivals, and Vinicius Junior missed on a great close-in chance, although Asencio brought the teams even on a pass from Toni Kroos just moments after being sent onto the pitch for Luka Modric.
Then, it was Sevilla’s turn to up the pressure, going for the win and – in a key turning point – in the 78th minute Madrid’s Eder Militao touched the ball in the area giving the Andalusian squad a penalty kick.
Madrid had thought they had gotten a penalty kick of their own when Benzema was sent to the turf after rounding Sevilla’s goaltender, Yassine Bono, but VAR review of the situation revealed that Militao had hand-touched the ball inadvertently a few moments earlier. Madrid’s prospective penalty was thus cancelled and Sevilla got the spot-kick, with Rakitic capitalizing when Courtois jumped the wrong way.
With Hazard’s final unexpected stoppage-time tally, the result leaves both Barca and Real Madrid two points behind Atletico, with Sevilla – with just the slimmest of chances at the title – six points behind with three matches to go.
Real Madrid: Courtois; Odriozola, Militao, Nacho, Marcelo (Miguel Gutierrez, m.66); Casemiro, Kroos, Modric (Marco Asensio, m.66), Fede Valverde; Vinicius (Hazard, m.79) and Benzema.
Sevilla: Bono; Jesus Navas, Kounde, Diego Carlos, Acuña; Fernando, Rakitic (De Jong, m.88), Jordan (Gudelj, m.84), Papu Gomez; Suso (Oscar, m.84) and Ocampos (Oliver, m.88).
Referee: Martinez Munuera showed yellow cards to Real Madrid’s Casemiro (min. 21) and to Sevilla’s Suso (min. 56) and Gudelj (min. 85).