In a match of farewells, Sevilla went for the win late on and sealed it with a fantastic long-range effort from the Argentine
A tense finale, but a fitting end to a great season that has finally drawn to a close. Sevilla FC picked up a win against Deportivo Alavés in the last match of the season, which has brought up a new record points tally for the club in the top flight, with 77 points this season breaking the record of 76 set by Unai Emery's side in the 2014/15 season. Papu Gómez scored the only goal of the match with a dipping long-range effort in the 92nd minute. It may not have been the most entertaining encounter, with few chances and a leisurely feel to the match, but Sevilla went all out to score the winner and bring up the new record. Champions League qualification was secured with five matches to spare, but this result means the team are heading on their holidays with a smile on their face too.
The team tried to take control of the game early on, but they did not find it easy to get into a rhythm and unsettled the Vitorians. Lopetegui's side tried with some long-range efforts in the first half, but were unable to trouble Sivera. Calleja's team also tried their luck from distance, with Edgar cutting inside and firing a powerful drive, but it went just over the crossbar. En-Nesyri also went close, but he was unable to keep the ball in play after facing up to Sivera.
The visitors went closest to breaking the deadlock before the break with a Tachi header
Alavés didn't seem to be willing to press too hard in the first half, but they had the biggest chance of the first half on the stroke of half time, from a set piece. Edgar rose highest at the far post to head a corner back across the box, and Tachi managed to also get his head to the ball, but his header went inches wide of the post. There were no changes after the interval, and the match slowly became more open, with both sides attacking much more frequently than they did in the first half. The first substitutions arrived just before the hour mark, with Vázquez, Jordán and Ocampos making way. Ocampos had the first clear chance of the second half, but his shot from the edge of the area was deflected wide for a corner.
Virtually all of the chances in the match came from shots from outside the area. Substitute Óscar Rodríguez and Suso had chances from distance, as did Manu García for the visitors. As the minutes passed by, Lopetegui pressed for a winner by bringing on De Jong and Rakitic. However, with ten minutes of normal time remaining, Manu García nearly opened the scoring as he fired against the post from close range after a cross from Luis Rioja. Sevilla went all out for a winner, something which exposed them to counter attacks. In the 90th minute, Alavés had a gilt-edged chance to score a late winner.
Vaclík made a crucial save to deny Joselu just minutes before Papu's goal
Joselu won the ball from Gudelj and then found himself one-on-one with Vaclik. The Czech won the battle of wits, making the save with his right leg to deny the striker. Lucas Pérez was unable to score the rebound. Two minutes later, Papu Gómez went one better, in the second minute of added time. The Argentine cut in from the left hand side and scored a magnificent, dipping effort from long range. Pacheco, who had replaced the injured Sivera, had no chance. The team were delighted, as that goal allowed the team to break the club's record points tally in LaLiga with just minutes remaining.
There was no time for an Alavés equaliser, and the final whistle saw hugs and farewell. There were emotional scenes, such as when Franco Vázquez was substituted, and when Vaclík kissed the three goalposts in front of Gol Norte before a heartfelt embrace with his teammates. A happy ending to a great season for Sevilla FC, with the feeling that they are still on the road to an even more exciting future. However, it's now time to rest, and then start thinking about the upcoming season.
1. SEVILLA FC: Vaclík, Aleix Vidal, Koundé, Rekik, Escudero (Papu Gómez, 74'), Gudelj, Joan Jordán (Óscar Rodríguez, 56'), Franco Vázquez (Óliver Torres, 56'), Suso (De Jong, 74'), Ocampos (Rakitic, 56') and En-Nesyri.
0. DEPORTIVO ALAVÉS: Sivera (Pacheco, 72'), Ximo Navarro, Tachi, Lejeune, Duarte, Pina, Pere Pons (Joselu, 67'), Manu, Edgar (Battaglia, 78'), Pellistri (Luis Rioja, 67') and Guidetti (Lucas Pérez, 78').
GOALS: 1-0, 90+2': Papu Gómez.
REFEREE: Isidro Díaz de Mera Escuderos. Booking for Aleix Vidal.