Sevilla FC responded to Athletic's first-half opener with two goals in the space of five minutes from Banega and Munir and have taken a huge step towards Champions League qualification
If there was ever a perfect day to end the losing streak at San Mamés, it was today, without a doubt. Sevilla FC spectacularly came from behind in the second half to secure a massive three points away at Athletic Club. The goals from Banega and Munir were sublime. With just nine points up for grabs, Sevilla are now level on points with Atlético de Madrid in third place and are six clear of Villarreal CF.
Unlike Monday's match against Eibar, Sevilla came out and looked comfortable, dominating the opening minutes. They were fully in control of the possession and En-Nesyri had the first chance after just four minutes by getting on the end of a knock down from Diego Carlos, but Unai Simón caught his header. Williams also had a chance a few minutes later with a powerful drive that went wide, but that was really against the run of play as Sevilla took charge. However, as Yuri went off injured for the hosts, the tables turned.
After a promising start, Capa scored for the home side
Vesga had the first real chance for Garitano's men with an effort with a deflected shot from the edge of the box. However, the ball took a wicked deflection off Koundé and the ball fell very kindly for Ander Capa, who hammered a powerful drive beyond Bono and into the far corner. There was nothing the Moroccan keeper could do about it. A hammer blow for Sevilla, who struggled to get back on top of the game, as Athletic dominated until the half-time whistle.
The team still appeared lost after the interval and Córdoba had the first chance of the second half, hooking a volley towards goal that was well-saved by Bono. Before the hour mark, Sevilla FC had their biggest chance up to that point, as Suso's long range effort was denied by Unai Simón, but Reguilón, on the follow-up, got the ball trapped under his feet and could not convert. The team was going for it, but they needed reinforcements and Lopetegui did not hesitate to bring on Munir and De Jong. The Moroccan got involved straight away, winning a foul on the edge of the box just after Ocampos had forced Unai Simón into another save.
Banega and Munir completed a five-minute turnaround
Banega took the resulting free kick and perfectly placed the ball into the top-right corner, leaving Unai Simón stranded in the process. A big moment for Sevilla but they wanted more, and went all out to try to end their nine-game losing streak in Bilbao. Just three minutes later, Banega played a delightful ball for substitute Munir, who headed home sensationally to give the Nervionenses the advantage.
No one was unaware of the importance of this scoreline and its consequences. In response, Sevilla were intelligent. They dug deep due to the importance of a win and having a one-goal lead, and Bono was barely tested in the final fifteen minutes. He did make a really good save from Muniain's low drive, diverting it round the post for a corner, but that was the only response from Athletic. However, the hard work never stops, and there is a tough home game on Sunday against Mallorca, who are alive in the relegation dogfight. However, qualification for the Champions League is very much a possibility.
1. ATHLETIC CLUB: Unai Simón, Capa, Núñez, Íñigo Martínez, Yuri (Balenziaga, 25'), Dani García, Vesga, Muniain, Córdoba (Villalibre, 79'), Sancet (De Marcos, 46') and Williams (Kodro, 78').
2. SEVILLA FC: Bono, Jesús Navas, Koundé, Diego Carlos, Reguilón, Jordán (Munir, 64'), Gudelj, Banega, Ocampos (Franco Vázquez, 88'), Suso (Fernando, 79') and En Nesyri (De Jong, 64').
GOALS: 1-0, 28': Capa; 1-1, 69': Banega; 1-2, 72': Munir.
REFEREE: David Medié Jiménez, from Catalonia. Yellow cards for Núñez, De Marcos, Dani García, Banega and Ocampos. Juan Ángel Iribarren, Athletic Bilbao coach, was sent off.