Goals from De Jong and Nolito in the first half were enough to secure the three points for the home side
After Tuesday night's performance in the cup against Levante, we were all expecting big things. And on Saturday against Granada, they delivered. Sevilla FC made their home turf a fortress once again as they beat a determined Granada side by two first-half goals. After ten minutes, De Jong scored a super header and about 20 minutes later, Nolito dinked the ball delightfully over the goalkeeper to make it 2 nil. The second half was more or less a timid affair; although if one team were going to score, it would have been the home side.
Avoiding the outcome of the last two home league games was a must this evening, and it was accomplished by a Sevilla side who were determined to assert their authority from the off. Three minutes had gone whenever the first chance came for the home side, as an Ocampos strike hit the post and a rebound pounced on by Fernando was deflected on its way towards goal. This was the first stage of play of the night; and in the second, the first goal came. And it came in a magnificent way through our number 19: Luuk de Jong.
Ocampos fired a warning shot in the first few minutes and De Jong scored the first of the night just minutes later
It was a cross from the right-hand side by Jesús Navas and the Dutch striker met it with a beautiful header, as it sailed right into the top corner of Granada's net. Things started off great, however they may have gone awry if it weren't for VAR. For the first time since it was installed in Nervión, the referee used it to overturn a penalty which he had previously given for a supposed foul by Diego Carlos inside the area. The incident took place before the ball was in play, and therefore the Granada free-kick was retaken as Sevilla avoided facing a penalty.
Sevilla were starting to find their rhythm and their play was demonstrating as such - with solidity at the back and rapid transitions from front to back, which Reguilón on the left-hand side was taking full advantage of. With ten minutes left until the half-time whistle sounded, the second came for Sevilla FC. The man from Madrid galloped down the left wing and found Nolito with a lovely ball. The latter did the rest as he anticipated the charge-out from Rui Silva and lifted a lovely ball over the goalkeeper to give the home side a two goal cushion. Shortly after, half-time came. Franco Vázquez, who was on a yellow card, didn't come back out for the second half as he was substituted for Gudelj.
With the hard work done in the first half, Sevilla were still looking for more in the second
The second half was a more tense affair, with Foulquier for the visitors causing problems for the Sevilla defence, without causing Vaclík in goal too much trouble. Sevilla showed the other side of their game in the second half, as they were able to weather a few storms from Granada, and manage the game well as the away side looked for a route back into it. Lopetegui decided to make another change, by bringing on Koundé to reinforce the backline. Óliver Torres was also asked to help out on the left hand side after Nolito departed to sure things up.
En-Nesyri got a few minutes at the end of the match, but it was his strike partner De Jong who had to clearest opportunity. However, his shot was well saved by Rui Silva to avoid another goal for the home side. Nothing more of note happened in the final few minutes, as Sevilla got back to winning ways at home in a thoroughly deserved victory. Although Valencia and Villarreal were both victorious, Lopetegui's men kept ahead in the race for a top 4 finish. Now, the focus shifts to Thursday night's Copa del Rey game away to Mirandés.
2. SEVILLA FC: Vaclík, Jesús Navas, Sergi Gómez, Diego Carlos, Reguilón, Fernando, Óliver Torres, Franco Vázquez (Gudelj, 46'), Ocampos (En-Nesyri, 85'), Nolito (Koundé, 71') and De Jong.
0. GRANADA CF: Rui Silva, Víctor Díaz, Domingos (Vallejo, 86'), Martínez, Neva, Yan Eteki (Foulquier, 46'), Gonalons, Antonio Puertas, Machis (Vadillo, 77'), Yangel Herrera and Soldado.
GOALS: 1-0, 10': De Jong; 2-0, 34': Nolito.
REFEREE: Alejandro Hernández Hernández, from the Canary Islands committee. Yellow cards for Franco Vázquez, Diego Carlos, Sergi Gómez and Antonio Puertas.