Partido entre el Sevilla FC y el Girona FC
Match reports


It wasn't Sevilla's greatest game of the season but Sevilla FC picked up three crucial points in the midday kick-off against Girona. Sergio Rico saved a penalty and made more crucial saves to keep a clean-sheet, meaning Sarabia's early second-half goal was enough to secure the win

An extremely hard-fought win for Sevilla FC this Sunday in La Liga Santander. Girona made things very difficult and demanded a top performance from Sergio Rico, who against all odds kept a clean-sheet. The Catalonian side were unable to convert from the penalty spot five minutes before the break and were then denied on numerous occasions by the Sevilla keeper to keep the Nervionenses one ahead. The visitors kept fighting for 94 minutes but in the end, it would be Sevilla who would finally pick up league points at home and put themselves one point behind Villarreal in the league.

Having put together some fantastic form in the league in the past weeks, Girona were unsurprisingly well-organised coming into the game, pressing high and keeping tight lines to make things difficult for Sevilla FC. Without Banega, Montella's side needed to show as much composure as possible and the first few minutes proved their determination to regain form in the league. Looking dangerous up the left through Correa, two bits of play in the first five minutes just lacked the final ball to make it a perfect start. Pizarro linked up well with his compatriot to create some space for a cross but was unable to find anyone in the area. After an early flurry, though, Girona got a foothold in the game and started to find some joy through pressing high in the Sevilla half.

A very demanding game left Sevilla without much space to work with in the first-half

After efforts from Granell and Borja, Sevilla were in need of some breathing room and found it through Sarabia, who down the left had a chance to make it 1-0. After a nice through ball from Pizarro, the Madrid-born winger was left with a tight angle; trying to chip Girona's Bono, he could only find the side-netting. Things looked even and Olunga had possibly the best chance of the half so far for the visitors, but a double save from Sergio Rico denied the visitors. Muriel replied with an electric bit of individual play to create some space and shoot but his fierce effort would fly inches wide. Ten minutes before the break, things heated up even more and Girona were awarded a golden chance to put themselves one up in the game when given a dubious penalty for a handball from Muriel. If there were doubts about the penalty itself, there was no doubt about the result: a stunning Sergio Rico save kept the deadlock unbroken

After an equal first-half, Sevilla FC could not have dreamt of a better start to the secondA long ball upfield found Correa one on one with Bono. The Argentine would flick it past the Girona keeper, sending an effort to trickle agonisingly towards goal. Two Girona defenders would do just enough to keep the ball out but an on-rushing Pablo Sarabia would be there to bundle the ball in. The goal would prove crucial in giving Sevilla that push to start dominating the match, though there was still a lot of work to do to close out the game. And though there were clear chances to widen the deficit, each ball won became more and more valuable as the minutes ticked by.

Sergio Rico, on top of his heroic penalty save, kept Sevilla ahead on more than one occasion in the second-half

After a tough hour of football, Sevilla were forced into a change when Muriel came off injured for Ben Yedder. Not long after, Pablo Sarabia had a golden chance once again to make it two but was denied one on one by Bono, whose outstretched arm kept Girona in the game with twenty minutes to go. Opting for more defensive security, Montella brought on Layún for Sarabia, giving Navas more defensive help on the right. Girona meanwhile made changes of their own and continued to pepper Rico's goal with efforts. Rico was equal to everything: first denying a Portu header, then Juanpe, then - most impressively - a point-blank effort from Portu again that looked destined to find the back of the net two minutes from time. Sevilla had their hero for the day and his name was Sergio Rico. 

Three hard-fought points put us just one behind Villarreal, with the yellows still to visit the Sánchez-Pizjuán and Valencia to play Levante in the Valencia derby later today. Sevilla will now have a week's rest before travelling to the Canary Islands to face Las Palmas. After comes a huge blockbuster fixture against Manchester United in the Champions League. Let's hope today's win can serve as a launching pad for a big run of February form. 

Communication Department