The points were shared in Vallecas in a game where each side dominated one half, and were able to score a goal. Sevilla were better in the first 45 minutes, and they went into the break 1-0 ahead thanks to a goal from Suso, whose shot was deflected by Óscar Valentín which made it impossible for Dimitrievski to stop. However, our team were made to suffer a lot in the second half as Rayo put the pressure on us, and were able to equalise midway through the second half as Lejeune headed in from a corner. En-Nesyri, offside by a matter of centimetres, had his goal ruled out whilst De Tomás had one ruled out himself in the following phase of play.
With so few options in defence, Sampaoli had to improvise and move Telles into one of the three centre back positions. Rayo had a settled side, ready to pressurise their opponent from the kick-off. With just two minutes on the clock, Camello had a one-on-one with Bono but as usual, our Moroccan keeper won this battle and kept the scores level. Sevilla learnt from this early warning as they became more united at the back and sought to find space on the counter-attack. Whilst the team was clear on their tactics, they lacked precision in the final third. What was certain though was that in the first-half, the side did everything they could to score. Thirty minutes had been played when Suso scored from just outside the box, having received a pass from Montiel.
Suso gave his side the advantage as he put us one-nil up
The Argentinian put it into the heart of the area and a defender cleared the ball back to Suso, who tried his luck from the edge of the area. With the assistance of a deflection from Óscar Valentín, who dived for the tackle, the ball went out of Dimitrievski's reach to make it 0-1. It was a key moment in the game and the second almost came just after, with another good cross from Montiel that Catena managed to clear just wide of the top corner. The possession would return to Rayo, however, when the linesman ruled Rafa Mir offside. Sampaoli's side controlled the game well, and Rayo had just one attempt, Fran García's long-range effort failing to find the target. It was only a matter of time then, for the Sevilla side who were coping well with the Vallecas' pressure and were able to take advantage of one of their outlets to take the lead on the scoreboard.
Rayo played better in the second half and eventually equalised.
In the second half, the first thing to happen was the substitution of Rafa Mir for Jesús Navas, which sent Ocampos into the attacking role in a second half in which Rayo, once again, came out with a clear attacking intent. Nine minutes after the restart, after Lejeune was nearly shown a straight red card for a tackle on Oliver, Camello had another chance at the far post from Balliu's cross, but his shot went over. Sevilla were unable to break the deadlock despite having the game well in hand, but midway through the second half the equaliser came from a set piece. A corner to the heart of the six-yard box was headed in by Lejeune, who headed in unmarked to make it 1-1. Just before that, Montiel had left the field with discomfort, giving way to Bryan Gil.
In the final stretch, the introduction of Lamela failed to give Sevilla the spark they needed in attack and they barely threatened with shots that failed to find the net from Bryan and Gueye. Meanwhile, Rayo looked more comfortable and could have turned the score around with a free-kick from Isi that went just wide of the post. Just before the final whistle, a long ball to En-Nesyri -the last substitution for the visitors- ended with the Moroccan's goal being disallowed by centimetres. The curious thing is that, in the following play, De Tomás also scored in an offside position, this time without the need to use the VAR lines. Bono, in the last of the match, had to appear again to block a shot from Álvaro that brushed past Navas and into the side-netting, leaving the game level. Now it's time to think about Eindhoven and closing out a place in the last 16 against PSV, who were held to a draw today in their visit to Utrecht.