If it was going to be anybody, it was going to be Sevilla
Real Madrid’s run finally came to an end at the 40-mark, a biblical number. It was brought to a halt in Seville. It couldn't have been anywhere else. It almost happened on Thursday and it finally came to pass on Sunday courtesy of a ferocious response, in belief and style, to a not very convincing penalty awarded to Madrid. From there, with not much left on the clock, Madrid believed it was simply a matter of running it down. But Sevilla were having none of it and turned a game that had been cold and tactical to that point - more a game of chess - into a fiery encounter, pushing forward with the good football they possess and infinite faith in themselves. And in that way Sevilla managed to destroy Madrid’s unbeaten run with the visitors' favourite trademark: the stoppage time goal.
Stevan Jovetic provided it and he is surely the signing of the week, impressive as he had been already on Thursday. And the equaliser, a Sergio Ramos own goal, which was scripted with a mischievous wink by the football gods. There is nothing to reproach in his performance; he played well. Keylor Navas does not come out of the game quite as unscathed. For Ramos' goal he was rooted to the spot and he was badly positioned for the winner. It wasn't his day and it wasn't Madrid’s day. Playing with three at the back Zidane’s side never looked comfortable in an unfamiliar formation. Madrid played without urgency and without dominion in any area of the pitch. They never stamped their authority on the match and the ball rarely reached Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema -- and when it did they failed to use it efficiently.
Sevilla have provided a fresh blow in the title fight, moving to within one point of Madrid and into second, one ahead of Barcelona. And now, after seeing Madrid hobbled in Seville, the game in hand against Valencia doesn't look like such a sure thing. Madrid’s loss coincided with a chasing wind of improvement from Barcelona, whose back-ups (even Aleix Vidal!) finally clicked against Las Palmas, which is no inconsequential matter. Atlético, meanwhile, are back to their game-by-game. Madrid’s strengths have not evaporated because of this loss but their air of invincibility has. It went up in smoke in Seville, the only place where it could have happened.
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