It wasn't always easy but goals from Modric and Casemiro in the second half helped Real Madrid to all three points against Sevilla on Saturday at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Real Madrid 2-0 Sevilla: match report
Real Madrid jumped Sevilla into third in LaLiga with a 2-0 win on Saturday afternoon at the Santiago Bernabéu. It wasn't always easy but their second half display and insistence bore fruit with late goals from Casemiro and Luka Modric to wrap up all three points.
Solari left Iso and Marcelo on the bench again as Ceballos got a start along with Karim Benzema despite him nursing a broken finger. He returned to the trusty 4-3-3 after last week's appearance of a three-man defence against Real Betis.
Real Madrid have the brighter of starts but they only had a tame Vinicius shot to show for it along with a mixture of crosses of varying quality. Sevilla grew into the game as it progressed and they had the best chance of the half when Ever Banega teed up Sergio Escudero as he blazed into the side netting.
It didn't get much better for Real Madrid as Sevilla took over until Mateu Lahoz whistled for half-time.
Solari kept faith with his starting eleven and it paid off. The Real Madrid side that showed up for the second half was aggressive, intense, defensively solid and, well, like Real Madrid tend to be at home against anyone.
They had chances through Modric, whose effort hit the side netting. Casemiro saw a header that went just wide. Ceballos rattled the crossbar and Vinicius chipped just wide too. It seemed like it was only a matter of time as Pablo Machín took off both his strikers in an effort to shut the home side down.
He wasn't planning on Casemiro going over his defence though with a strike from outside the box. Vaclik got a reaching hand to it but it could not match the might of the strike. Luka Modric sealed things with almost the last kick off the game to cap of a man of the match performance. He won the ball back after some nice pressure and slotted home.
Sevilla welcome Barcelona during the week in the Copa del Rey but for now, they'll be ruing the chance to keep pressure on the league leaders while seperating themselves from Real Madrid in the race for a more comfortable path into the Champions League.
Real Madrid vs Sevilla live online: match updates and commentary
90'+3' GAME OVER!
90'+2' MODRIC! GOAL! GOAL! He wins it back and has nobody to beat but Vaclik and he does just that. 2-0 and game very much over.
90'+1' Real Madrid win it back. Sevilla haven't been able to pick a pass at all in this second half.
90'+1' Banega insists on continuing down the right after Sevilla are turned back once.
88' Isco with the free. But he curls over.
88' Benzema caught and Lahoz tries to play advantage but there is none. Free for Real Madrid.
86' Ceballos off for Valverde.
86' Lahoz strops play and there is zero reason as to why.
86' Another corner as Isco slides in on Vazquez.
84' Corner comes in and Isco wins it and clears. Modric gets caught and Kjaer is booked for that effort.
84' Corner for Sevilla.
81' Sevilla trying to get back into this one. They have the ball now. Nice ball out to Navas and he sends it in but it's cleared.
80' How do Sevilla turn this one around? They are all over the place and Real Madrid have been all over them.
78' WHAT A GOAL! Casemiro strikes and he buries it. 1-0.
77' Vazquez off for Isco.
77' Isco coming on for Real Madrid.
76' Sent in and Casemiro heads it wide. He tries to convince the referee of a corner and he has a case.
76' Sarabia takes Vinicius down late and Real Madrid have a free. Modric to take.
75' Andre Silva is coming off now for Munir.
74' Clipped inside and Casemiro with an attacking header.
73' No free. It's a corner. Modric plays it short to Ceballos.
73' Cross comes in and Vaclik can't reach it. Kick for Jesus Navas at the back post by Reguilon.
73' Sevilla just soaking up pressure at this point.
71' Ben Yedder replaced by Promes. First change of the game for either side.
70' Sevilla scramble away again and concede a throw.
68' Vazquez with a stepover and cross. Ramos at the back post but he pushes the defender in the back. Very, very lucky for Sevilla but Kjaer was impeded.
67' Ceballos absolutely rattles the crossbar. What a shot. Vaclik had no chance!
66' Just to clarify, no yellow for Ceballos. Lahoz has the card in his hand but didn't give it to anyone.
66' Free from Banega. Hits the wall and it's won back by Madrid.
65' Yes, Ceballos booked for a foul.
65' Yellow card now for someone. Think it's Ceballos as Mahoz pulls play back.
64' Vinicius with a really ambitious and unorthodox effort. He tries to loop one over Vaclik but it goes just wide.
62' Foul by Casemiro on Ben Yedder. He pushes him off the ball and gets booked.
61' And another ball across and Jesus Navas with a poor clearance.
61' Under more pressure! Shot from Reguilón never comes as he loses it. Casemiro's shot is blocked.
60' Sevilla try to counter but Real Madrid win it back and attack through Vinicius.
60' Sevilla under all sorts of pressure here. Ball across the box and they scramble it away.
58' Headed away for a throw to Real Madrid.
56' Good chance for Real Madrid. Ball down the right and Modric gets it back. He strikes and it's saved by Vaclik into the side netting. Corner for Real Madrid.
54' Banega takes Ceballos down and the fans want a yellow after an earlier foul on Modric. Mahz does not comply though and he gets away with that one.
53' Real Madrid improving here. Modric plays one back to Casemiro and he slams it wide.
52' Vinicius cuts inside and shoots a mile wide.
51' Really good chance for Sevilla but the pass into Andre Silva is a little hasty. Ramos cuts it out and Real Madrid keep it.
50' Reall nice run literally down the line by Edcudero but he ran it out too much and it's a throw.
48' Andre Silva down on the ground now grabbing his face. Or his ear more precisely. Ramos in the vicinity. Not a bad effort from Ramos but that's a foul, it looks like.
47' Another decent start for Real Madrid but no chances just yet.
46' No changes for either side as the fog descends on the turf at the Santiago Bernabeu.
46' We are back underway for the second half.
45'+2' And we are into that two minutes and almost beyond. Vinicius strikes and Vaclik saves.
45'+2' Two minutes of added time.
45'+1' It is sent in but foul in the area gives Madrid a free.
45' Vinicius catches Mudo Vazquez as we approach the break. Chance to send on towards the penalty area.
45' That cross by Vinicius isn't really going to cut it. Vaclik gathers easily.
44' Game has grown very sloppy in the last few minutes. Two very nervous teams.
41' Jesus Navas got lucky there as Vazquez puts him under pressure and he wins the free. Very lucky.
41' Carvajal makes it to the ball before it goes out. He crosses and it's put out by Sevilla. Weather really deteriorating here.
40' Modric is on the sideline but he will continue. And Vazquez is okay too. Modric runs back on after being given the green light.
40' We are back underway.
39' Modric gets a bandage on his head.
38' Two players on the ground as Modric is down and is bleeding from his eye. Clash of heads between him and Mudo Vazquez.
36' Free whipped in and it's cleared but lands at Vinicius' feet. He plays to Benzema and the shot comes in. Saved by Vaclik.
35' Banega absolutely cleaned out Modric as he looked to make a move forward. Lucky not to be booked.
33' Modric with the ball into the box. A bit of confusion as Vaclik grabs it and Ceballos hits him late. Mateu Lahoz says it's a free but we're not sure why. Think it was for the Ceballos hit.
32' Real Madrid with the ball just outside the penalty area but they get pushed all the way back and have to start again.
31' Another really dangerous move by Sevilla as ball is played through to Silva but Courtois gets down and saves.
30' That free was whipped in and headed away. Vinicius races through and Vazquez gets in his way. But Carrico hauls the Brazilian down and gets booked. Decent tactical foul.
29' Nudge in the back by Casemiro as Sevilla break through the middle.
28' Reguilón wins a corner.
27' Ball in behind by Sevilla as Andre Silva tries to get on the end of it. Varane slides in and the Portuguese wants a free. No chance really.
26' Sevilla win a throw.
26' Carvajal with some defending to do as Sevilla play the ball around him.
25' Courtois is limping here after just returning from injury. He is not comfortable and Luca Zidane is warming up.
25' Another nice cross by Navas and it's headed down by Silva into Courtois' gloves.
23' Courtois with a poor clearance as Sevilla are starting to improve and build here.
22' Lovely break by Sevilla. Brilliant and it's perfect from Banega into the path of Escudero. He drives it wide! What a chance for Sevilla.
21' Nice move for Real Madrid as Vinicius wriggles into a nice position. He plays to Benzema and the ball out to Reguilón is cut back. Sevilla recover and foul by Ceballos.
21' Reguilón with a slide and the ball clips off Navas. Out for a goal kick. Real Madrid's good start coming to an end here.
20' Ben Yedder tries to get a head to it but it's cleared. Looked like a high foot but Sevilla don't complain.
19' Jesus Navas loses the ball as the white jerseys converge around him. Ball won back by Sevilla and it's out to Navas again. Corner for the visitors.
18' REal Madrid have slackened off here but long ball to Benzema is a decent one. He can't reach it though and turns out there was too much on it.
16' Launched forward to Silva heads down to and Mudo Vazquez loses out to Casemiro. Throw for Real Madrid.
14' Vazquez caught in the head with an elbow by Sergi Gomez but Mateu Mahoz says no free. He is bleeding though and replays show he did get caught.
13' Sarabia to take. Way out to the back and it's headed back into the middle before Vazquez gets it away. Sevilla back on the ball though.
13' Lovely ball out to Jesus Navas and a great cross from him. Carvajal takes no chances and kicks it out for a corner.
12' Cross in and cleared by Sevilla. Can they finally get the ball at their feet and start something here.
12' They have Sevilla backpedalling again. Really bright start for Madrid.
11' All gets a little congested down the left for Real Madrid as they enarly lose it but they whip it out to the right to start again.
11' Carvajal launches one out to Ramos. He starts up the field now anew.
10' Benzema flicks one into Vinicius and he's offside.
9' Another nice break from Real Madrid. Benzema's poor touch lets him down and the attack falls apart. Really open game here so far and it's all going Real Madrid's way after 10 minutes.
8' Vazquez plays the ball through to Ben Yedder but no chance of him getting on the other side of Varane. Ball back to Courtois.
7' Vinicius in again. Corner and the ball is sent in again by Vazquez. Benzema heads wide.
6' Really good break by Real Madrid as Benzema sends Vinicius through. He shoots and Vaclik saves. Has to do better from there.
5' Dodgy pass back by Varane as Courtois clears. Sevilla with their first high pressing opportunity and it nearly worked.
5' Cross in from Vazquez and Vaclik gathers. Nice link up between Carvajal and Vazquez.
3' Real Madrid continue to put pressure on Sevilla now and they're camped out in their half.
2' Benzema sends one across goal. Cleared by Sevilla. Another ball in from the right is missed and Vinicius crosses. Cleared again. Real Madrid have started well here!
1' We are underway at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Teams on the field now at a chillt Bernabeu. Grey clouds not looking very nice and rain expected!
Our headline for the Real Madrid 5-0 win was: "Real send Sevilla packing with perfect 45-minute blitz".
Our headline for Real Madrid's loss to Sevilla back in September was: "Sevilla steamroll sorry Real Madrid with first half blitz". Certainly not Lopetegui's greatest day at the office.
Real Madrid's rising star central defender, Javi Sanchez, is out today with an injury but he is attracting interest from plenty of clubs in Spain and beyond.
If you fancy having a look at what the Oracle has predicted for this game (and all the other games in LaLiga this weekend). Click here. He got the Getafe win right last night and he is feeling confident.
Karim Benzema is back in the starting line-up. He wants to get surgery but the club and Solari are trying to convince him to hold off and play through the pain.
After the signing of Brahin Díaz this winter, they will not sign anyone else in the winter. Solari is going to have to do whatever he can do with his current crop of players.
Courtois returns to the starting eleven after injury lay-off. But now Keylor Navas is out. This has been a really difficult start to the year for Madrid and Solari regarding injuries.
Sevilla XI: Vaclík; Carriço, Kjaer, Sergi Gómez; Navas, Sarabia, Banega, Franco Vázquez, Escudero; Ben Yedder, André Silva.
Real Madrid XI: Courtois, Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Reguilón Ceballos, Modric, Casemiro Lucas Vázquez, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.
This is a strange stance to take. Solari was not the first choice manager to take over at the club in the summer and became the last option after Lopetegui was sacked. Now the club are backing him over one of their best players.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of Real Madrid vs Sevilla. The battle for thirs spot is heating up and some strange form for both sides make this an enticing and intriguing encounter! Team news coming your way soon....
Real Madrid vs Sevilla live online: preview
Real Madrid and Sevilla are locked on 33 points in third and fourth place in LaLiga. The former are coming off a strange victory over Real Betis in which they sustained mountains of pressure for long spells of the second half only to be bailed out by a Dani Ceballos free-kick while Sevilla were beaten well by a resurgent Athletic Bilbao side thanks to two Iñaki Williams goals. When you consider Sevilla's recent poor form at the stadium in the capital and Real Madrid's bewildering performances to start the season, anything could happen at 16:15 CET on Saturday afternoon.
This game could make or break Santiago Solari's reign as the manager of Real Madrid after a tough start to 2019. Thibaut Courtois is back from his injury but Keylor Navas is out now with a fresh setback. Toni Kroos and Marcos Llorente, Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio, Jesus Vallejo and Mariano Diaz all remain out but Karim Benzema is back after suffering a broken finger last weekend. Isco, we can only assume, will not start either as his relationship with Solari continues to confound. Last week against Betis, Solari left out Marcelo and changed to five at the back to match Quique Setien's system and it worked, kind of. They won, of that there is no doubt, but they were battered for long spells in the second half. He also said Marcelo is still vital and he was just rested for the game but it remains to be seen how he lines out against Machín, who also favours three at the back.
Roque Mesa is the only short term absentee for Sevilla along with Maxime Gonalons, who has an ankle injury. Nolito has a broken leg and is out for some time yet. Pablo Machín has been backed in the transfer market and Munir was signed followed by Maximilian Wöber. They do need signings given their involvement in the Europa League and their drive for Champions League football. The later is not in the squad but the former Barcelona striker will be looking to play some minutes. They will be looking for revenge for last season's 5-0 loss at the hands of their opponents on Saturday.