It was the afternoon to change Sevilla FC's fortunes but the Nervionenses were able to take nothing positive from their trip to the Basque Country. They fell to defeat after a goal from Manu García just after half-time. Though in the last ten minutes Sevilla had an extra man and were camped in Alavés' half, it would be the home side who would come away with three points
It wasn't to be either in the Mendizorroza. Sevilla FC fell to a painful defeat this Sunday against a Deportivo Alavés side who were able to pick up three points after a goal from Manu García broke the first-half's deadlock. Though Montella's side dominated and showed intensity in the early minutes, Alavés would be the ones to find the only goal of the game six minutes after the break. Though the Nervionenses reacted - with more heart than head - they could not find an equaliser to get anything from their trip to Vitoria.
It was a positive start to proceedings for Sevilla in Mendizorroza - with clear intention to not only take control of possession but also carve out more chances. Just four minutes had gone before Pacheco was tested by a long shot from Banega that was turned behind for a corner. Sevilla seemed incisive and quick on both wings, though just lacking a link with Ben Yedder, who was forced to come out of his position too often to get involved in play. Nonetheless, the Nervionenses were defensively under control.
Sevilla started the match on the front foot but Alavés grew into the game before half-time
But Sevilla's dominance would unfortunately start to wither, as Alavés, bit by bit, grew into their game. With the debuting Guidetti getting more involved in the action, Abelardo's men were the ones who were starting to create more danger towards the end of the first-half. Sevilla's only real effort came from long-range through Geis - who was likely Sevilla's best performer in the first-half - but Pacheco was equal to it. It looked like Sevilla might be in for a more complicated second-half when the first was called to a close.
And, indeed, the restart proved to follow the same pattern, only this time, Alavés would get their rewards very quickly from a set-piece. A corner conceded by Nolito was sent to the far post, where Manu García arrived with a right-footed strike to send the hosts in front. The Basque captain, who was given too much space, was allowed to control and curl the ball deftly past Sergio Rico. A goal for a side who didn't seem to have much more in them, and who now faced a reaction from the visitors. In search of something immediate, Montella subbed Geis for Sarabia.
With the hosts conscious of nearly a full half of football still to be played, they naturally looked to defend their lead. Unsurprisingly, Sevilla spent the next minutes camped in the Alavés' half looking for an immediate response. Despite this, the Nervionenses couldn't create the chances to challenge Pacheco. Though Nolito had two clear opportunities, Sevilla did not even manage a shot on target in the entire second-half. Duarte's sending-off ten minutes from time gave the game a last moment of drama, but it would be the Basque hosts who would see the game out and pick up three vital points.
Alavés managed to close out the game despite going down to ten men
A foreign situation for Sevilla FC, who now start their second-half of the season in poor form and with two long trips away from home. Wednesday will see the side travel to the Wanda Metripolitano in the first-leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final, then next Saturday a trip to to face RCD Espanyol. A response is needed, with fifth place now in the hands of Villarreal and yet more challengers over the shoulder.