Sevilla’s place in the Champions League next season was confirmed on Sunday night despite a 4-1 defeat against Real Madrid.
Villarreal’s draw against Deportivo means that Sevilla are five points clear of the Villarreal with one game to play, to secure a third consecutive season among Europe’s elite.
Madrid took the lead on ten minutes through Nacho before Cristiano Ronaldo doubled the advantage 13 minutes later. Stevan Jovetić then pulled one back for Sevilla just after half time, before Ronaldo scored his second and Toni Kroos put the game to bed on 84 minutes.
The scoreline was not a true reflection of Sevilla’s performance at the Santiago Bernabéu, which started at a frantic pace when Ronaldo saw an acrobatic effort go wide of Sergio Rico’s goal.
Alvaro Morata then tested his Spain international teammate, but Sergio Rico did well to smother the ball when the Madrid forward looked to take the ball around him.
The scoreline was not a true reflection of Sevilla’s performance at the Santiago Bernabéu
On the back of securing their place in the Champions League final, the hosts were in buoyant mood and their early pressure told when Nacho dispatched a free-kick in controversial fashion.
Daniel Carriço fouled Marco Asensio on the edge of the box and the referee blew for a foul, before Nacho took the set piece while Sevilla were looking to organise their defensive wall.
Despite Sevilla’s protests, the goal stood and Jorge Sampaoli’s side went close to responding in perfect fashion when Joaquín Correa found Jovetić unmarked in the box but the forward was unlucky to see his strike come back off the upright.
Jovetić again tested Keylor Navas in Madrid’s goal with a low strike towards the far post, but the ‘keeper was equal to it and parried with his feet.
Despite being two goals down, Sevilla were having the better of the chances
And Madrid made the most of Sevilla’s misfortune when Asensio took the ball off Matias Kranevitter in midfield and drove forward to find James Rodriguez. The Colombian’s shot was well saved by Sergio Rico but Ronaldo was there to convert the rebound to double the lead.
Despite being two goals down, Sevilla were having the better of the chances and again went close to responding when Michael Krohn-Delhi – making his first start since April 2016 – found Correa whose shot was saved by Navas when a pass to Vitolo might have been the better option.
Seconds later Jovetić went even closer when Vitolo played him in, but his chip that had beaten Navas all ends up came back off the crossbar.
The on-loan Inter Milan striker was in blistering form and had another opportunity just before half time after a clever one-two with Correa, but this time his stabbed effort was saved by Navas.