It was a back-and-forth type of game away to Atlético de Madrid, where Sevilla came away with a hard-fought point to continue their push to end the season in the Top 4
It was another good away performance from this Sevilla FC side after the recent doubts about their home form. Against them this time, it was none other than Atlético de Madrid who, just a few days before their crucial game in the Champions League at Anfield, would have gone above Lopetegui's men in the table if they had won the encounter. It didn't turn out like that as Simeone's men, who went behind after a great strike by De Jong, then equalised and took the lead all in the space of a few minutes. Shortly after, in what was a hectic first half, Ocampos would level for the away side from the penalty spot. The teams went in 2-2 at half-time, and it would remain that way after a very open second half. Sevilla FC were able to repel any danger from the home side with some very astute defending in the closing stages.
It was as an intense a first-half as you're likely to see anywhere, all season at the Wanda Metropolitano. The home side came out of the blocks quicker, but it would be the away side who took the lead in the game. This lead was given to them by a super goal from Luuk de Jong who, just after the 20 minute mark in the game, latched on to a through-ball and finished superbly. The move started with Navas playing the ball to Jordán, who then found the Dutchman who controlled and finessed a lovely shot round Oblak. Lopetegui's men had the game where they wanted it to be; however, once again this season, VAR intervened to spoil Sevilla's day as the referee end up awarding a questionable handball on Diego Carlos inside the Sevilla penalty area. Morata would be the one to equalise as his penalty found the bottom corner.
Sevilla's lead lasted for only around ten minutes as Morata dispatched a VAR awarded penalty; with Joao Félix putting the home side ahead four minutes later
Afterwards, it seemed as though Sevilla had lost a bit of focus and just four minutes after levelling, the home side were in front. An unfortunate mistake by Jordán allowed Koke to take control of the ball and drive forward. He found Joao Félix who collected it and, although Vaclík looked like he was in the perfect place to save the shot, it took a deflection of Koundé and ended up in the back of the net. There were only ten minutes left until the break and everything pointed towards that Simeone's men would walk down the tunnel a goal to the good. However, it wasn't to be. Once again, VAR was to take centre stage as after a Reguilón attempt was saved on the line by Oblak, Trippier would fould Ocampos in the seconds after and therefore costing the home side a penalty.
The same man who was fouled, Ocampos, would take the responsibility upon himself to take the spot kick and equalise for Sevilla - and he did just that. There were six minutes of added on time in this first half because of the amount of time spent waiting on VAR for the two decisions. After the intense first half, it seemed as if the half time and break put those fires out in the second as it was a completely different affair. Atlético wanted to make the most of the quality of players they have up top, but Sevilla were more than equal to their pressure. The away side themselves didn't trouble Oblak in the Atlético goal at all at the start of the second half. We had to wait until around the hour mark before either goalkeeper was tested, and it was the turn of Vaclík who got a very strong hand to a Carrasco shot to keep the scores level.
The second half was a completely different affair to the first
It was a moment that seemed to wake up Simeone's troops who got a boost with the entrance of Carrasco. Lopetegui had already brought on En-Nesyri for Suso, and tightened up defensively by taking Joan Jordán off for Sergi Gómez. Sevilla, therefore, switched to a three at the back and used Navas and Reguilón as wing-backs. Lopetegui made his third and final change as he brought on Franco Vázquez in the place of the ever impressive Lucas Ocampos. The game would end in a 2-2 draw with not a whole lot to write about for the closing stages of the clash; but there's no doubt that Sevilla picked up a very well-deserved point against one of their main rivals for those coveted Champions League spots.
Sevilla FC leave the Wanda Metropolitano just like they entered it: in the Champions League spots and two points above today's rival. It's good form that will hopefully put to rest the doubts that had started to creep in, especially in the game over Osasuna when they left it until the death to secure the three points. Now, the only thing for it is to recover once more as, quite possibly, the biggest week of the season approaches. First of all on Thursday in Nervión, it's the first leg of the UEL last 16 against AS Roma; and then on Sunday it's nothing other than El Gran Derbi. For the latter, the team will have to do without Gudelj as he picked up his fifth booking in today's match; however, Óliver Torres will be back and available for selection.
2. ATLÉTICO DE MADRID: Oblak, Trippier, Savic, Felipe, Mario Hermoso (Carrasco, 54'), Saúl, Llorente, Correa, Koke, Joao Félix (Vitolo, 80') and Morata (Diego Costa, 68').
2. SEVILLA FC: Vaclík, Jesús Navas, Diego Carlos, Koundé, Reguilón, Gudelj, Banega, Joan Jordán (Sergi Gómez, 74'), Ocampos (Franco Vázquez, 81'), Suso (En-Nesyri, 63') and De Jong.
GOALS: 0-1, 19': De Jong; 1-1, 32': Morata pen.; 2-1, 36': Joao Félix; 2-2, 43': Ocampos pen.
REFEREE: Alejandro Hernández Hernández, Canary Islands committee. Yellow cards for Diego Carlos, Julen Lopetegui, Jesús Navas, Banega, Gudelj, Joao Félix and Trippier.