After a crazy start that saw the game at 2-2 after 14 minutes, En-Nesyri completed his hat-trick and secured a vital win for Sevilla against a Champions League rival
Another direct rival for the Champions League spots leaves the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán empty handed. The team were not at their usual best defensively in a open and exhilarating start which saw four goals in fourteen minutes. En-Nesyri had the last say, however, completing his hat-trick at the start of the second half and Sevilla were able to manage the game and not concede a third. Despite the strong performance from the entire team, Youssef's performance has to be singled out as he notched his first hat-trick in Sevilla colours and builds on what has been an excellent season for the Moroccan.
It's often said that coaches dislike open games. And the looks on Lopetegui and Alguacil's faces in the opening fifteen minutes could be no surprise. A four-goal glut came in fourteen frantic minutes in Nervión, with almost more goals than actual shots on target. With barely four minutes on the clock, En-Nesyri got his first thanks to a quick burst from deep from Fernando who set the Moroccan up with an open net. A minute later, Diego Carlos panicked under pressure from Isak and lofted the ball back to his goal. Bono had already left his net however in order to sweep up the loose ball, leading to an unfortunate own goal for the Brazilian centre-back.
En-Nesyri demonstrated the form he is in this season with a sensational opening seven minutes
But this crazy game had only got started and only two minutes later the 1-1 would become 2-1. En-Nesyri fought with skill and grit to weave his way through multiple Real Sociedad defenders, putting himself one-on-one with Remiro. The Moroccan shot hard and low to Remiro's left, giving the goalkeeper no chance. A brief interlude of calm came into the game before the fourth goal of the opening quarter arrived. Sociedad sent in a corner to the back post where an unmarked Isak was waiting to volley in the equaliser. Sevilla had to dust themselves down again and Bono had to be at his best to deny Sociedad a third goal in the 17th minute when Guridi found himself alone in the box. The team had to somehow slow the match down and they did so, bringing an end to the exciting but stressful opening. Jordán did have a good chance from range, before En-Nesyri was once more through on goal but this time Remiro came out on top.
The teams went into the break and the second half started off exactly how the first had. Jesús Navas won the ball off Mikel Merino after some good pressing in the opposition's half, he fed Ocampos who skilfully worked his way into the box to cross it into En-Nesyri. Youssef's movement was quick and crisp as he nipped in ahead of his opponent and sent the ball into the back of the net, sealing his hat-trick. Sevilla took control of the game and looked to wear out Real Sociedad physically by circulating the ball well. Bad news came with Navas picking up an injury, needing to be replaced by Aleix Vidal. The fourth almost came soon after in a quick counter-attack with saw Suso played one-on-one against Remiro who came out with a top stop to deny the Spaniard. Sociedad responded quickly and Koundé was the hero once more as he cleared Merino's header off the line.
En-Nesyri started the second half off with a goal, sealing his hat-trick
Lopetegui looked to bring in more control to the midfield by introducing Óscar Rodríguez and Munir, introducing some pace up top too for any potential counter-attacks. Ocampos had a good chance after a break down the left wing. The Argentine weaved his way into the box and fired a curling shot that Remiro had to be at full stretch to keep out. With the game almost over, Lopetegui made full use of his substitution allocation by bringing Franco Vázquez and De Jong on for Ocampos and En-Nesyri who, were it not for the absence of fans caused by COVID-19, would have received a resounding standing ovation from the crowd.
De Jong had a chance to get his name on the scoresheet in injury time but Sociedad were able to block his goal-bound effort. Thankfully, the game had run its course and the missed opportunity would not come back to haunt Sevilla. It is another win for Lopetegui's team against a direct rival: the win has put Sevilla level on points with Sociedad but with three games in hand. One of those games in hand is against none other than Atlético Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday. Atleti, due to the weather that is affecting seemingly all of Spain bar Andalusia, will have had an entire week off to prepare for the match after their clash against Athletic was called off.
3. SEVILLA FC: Bono, Jesús Navas (Aleix Vidal, 70'), Koundé, Diego Carlos, Acuña, Fernando, Rakitic (Óscar Rodríguez, 85'), Joan Jordán, Suso (Munir, 85'), Ocampos (Franco Vázquez, 89') and En-Nesyri (De Jong, 89').
2. REAL SOCIEDAD: Remiro, Gorosabel, Zubeldia, Sagnan (Le Normand, 46'), Aihen, Zubimendi, Merino, Portu (Januzaj, 78'), Guridi, Isak and Oyarzabal (Roberto López, 78').
GOALS: 1-0, 4': En-Nesyri; 1-1, 5': Diego Carlos o.g.; 2-1, 7': En-Nesyri; 2-2, 14': Isak; 3-2, 46': En-Nesyri.
REFEREE: Javier Alberola Rojas. Yellows for Aihen, Sagnan and Guridi.