Momentum. Something that cannot be seen or touched, but that no one doubts is often decisive in football. Tonight, it was once again the case at San Mamés, where Sevilla FC added two more points in extra time after a match in which neither team had had a shot on target until Ocampos converted the penalty. And this was despite Athletic having two goals disallowed for offside in the first quarter of an hour. From then on, the game was much more even, and Sevillista held on and took advantage of a poor pass from Unai Simón to Yeray in their own defensive area, which led to a penalty. The Argentinean did not miss, and Sevilla can now begin to look up the league table.
Athletic put pressure on in the first few minutes at San Mamés. So much so that within the first quarter of an hour, the Basques had beaten Dmitrovic twice. However, both times the goals were disallowed for offside. The first, on eight minutes, came after a good inside pass from Herrera to the right, then onto De Marcos, who had advanced from defence, and a free header from Nico Williams, who was flagged for offside. Sevilla were well positioned at the back and tried to break out quickly, bypassing their opposition. Mendilibar's side could have scored, as Lamela missed a header by millimetres.
Athletic started strongly, but their two early goals were offside.
Still, Sevilla were not comfortable, and Guruzeta scored again on the quarter-hour mark afer a corner was played short and a cross delivered to the near post for Nico Williams. Yet VAR once again ruled out the goal. From there, the game became much more even, and despite the home team pushing harder and Sevilla not feeling entirely comfortable on the counter-attack, there were hardly any more chances throughout the first half. It was interesting that in terms of yellow cards, the Basques went into the dressing room without a single booking. Both Lamela and Acuña were cautioned in the first half for the away side.
Sevilla held on very well at the back and found their moment in added time.
Mendilibar did not wait and made his first substitution at half-time, bringing in Bryan for Lamela. Nico Williams had the only chance for Valverde's team in the second half in the three minutes after the restart, with a shot from outside the box that deflected out for a corner after touching Gudelj. From there, there was alternating possession and small bursts from both teams, but nothing that made one think that either of them deserved to take the lead. Navas' discomfort made Mendilibar opt for a triple substitution, bringing in Montiel, Papu, and Gueye. Sevilla gained fresh legs and energy but they still struggled to find space.
And when added time was running out, the breakthrough finally came. A mistake between Unai Simon and Yeray trying to play out from the back led to Ocampos being fouled under pressure. Referee Hernandez Hernandez didn't hesitate and Ocampos stepped up to calmly slot home the penalty. It is now nine points out of nine and ten out of twelve overall - the four consecutive wins including the Europa League. We are now ten points above the relegation zone with seven games left of the season. Seventh place, which could potentially give European football next season is five points away and sixth is nine points away. There are now two games in a row next week in Nervion, on Monday against Girona and on Thursday against Espanyol.