Pablo Sarabia del Sevilla FC ante el Valencia CF
Match reports

0-2: VALENCIA SMASH AND GRAB THREE CRUCIAL POINTS

A painful defeat for Sevilla FC in La Liga Santander that makes the dream of 4th place all the fainter. Despite dominating through much of the game, Sevilla were unable to convert their chances where Valencia killed the two biggest chances they had. Eleven points back in the race for 4th, Sevilla now turn their attention to the Champions League and a date with Manchester United next Tuesday

There are no prizes in football for team's who can't finish off their chances and nothing was clearer in the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán this Saturday as Sevilla slumped to a painful 0-2 loss. With the chance to shorten the gap between today's opponents to five points in the league, Sevilla now fall eleven behind Valencia in fourth place. A brace from Rodrigo, with goals either side of the half-time whistle, was the Nervionenses' punishment for chances wasted and despite spirit from the Nervión side - including chances that saw Sevilla hit the bar and force stunning saves out of Neto - Valencia were able to close up shop well and secure three golden points in their league campaign. Attention now turns to Manchester United. 

The start of the match reflected the league table; with Sevilla pushing hard to test Valencia but failing to unlock a tight and well-organised Valencian backline which relied on a stunning Neto to keep chances out. Nolito was the first to test the Brazilian goalkeeper with a sweet volley but the keeper was able to dive to the left and keep hold of the ball well. Three minutes later Sevilla would go close once again, with Nolito, Vázquez and Muriel linking up well to see deflected effort cleared off the line. Sergio Rico was barely challenged but with Valencia's first real chance at goal, he would be picking the ball out of the net. A ball from Kondogbia would leave Rodrigo one on one, and the striker would make no mistake slotting cooly home to give Valencia an undeserved lead. 

Valencia would finish off their first clear chance of the game to put Sevilla behind

A cruel twist after a bright start for Sevilla, who now needed to break through a formidable Valencia defence. Though it may already have been an uphill battle, Sevilla certainly gave it their best shot. On half an hour, the visitors would rely on Neto once again, this time pulling off one of the saves of the season after Sarabia flicked the ball to his near post. Not long after, the Madrid-born native would be at the centre of the action once again, crossing for Muriel who fired a header just wide. Muriel, for his part, would quickly go on to have one of the biggest chances of the first-half. Following a quick Sevilla counter, the Colombian would release a fierce effort that cannoned off the bar. With Vázquez unable to head the rebound home, a game-changing opportunity had escaped the home side. 

Following the restart, Sevilla once again showed their fight and looked frantically for an equaliser. A long-range effort from Banega would be barely kept out by Neto before Vázquez fired just metres wide of the keeper's right post. Replying with force, Rodrigo would release a curling effort that made Sergio Rico stretch to tip the ball behind. With Sevilla still just one behind thanks to his work, they would go close once again through a Banega free-kick that Clement Lenglet headed just too centrally to find an equaliser. Neto was there once again. Of the two teams, only one looked like scoring and it wasn't the one who'd go on to do so.  

Montella's side tried everything but there would be no way through the tight Valencian backline

Twenty minutes from the start of the second-half Kondogbia would unlock the Sevilla backline once again, releasing Rodrigo to fire a killer blow past Sergio Rico. With Sevilla now two back, the uphill battle became a mountain to climb. Montella looked to the bench, bringing on Ben Yedder for Sarabia and Sandro for Muriel to no avail. Correa would also have minutes, replacing Nolito. Though the Nervionenses would push and push, the equaliser wouldn't come and Valencia had three hugely valuable points won. 

Now eleven points back from fourth place, Sevilla's dream of qualification for the Champions League through La Liga Santander seems more unachievable than ever. Still in the European competition itself and in the final of the Copa del Rey, Sevilla will now inevitably focus on Tuesday's clash with Manchester United. Beyond that fixture, an away clash with Leganés will be the first chance the side has to make amends for a disappointing afternoon. 

Communication Department