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Kike Salas del Sevilla FC
Match reports


An injury-time equaliser for Almería saw the spoils shared in a pulsating all-Andalucía encounter at the Power Horse Stadium
Cuerpo Superior

So far this season, ‘The Sons of the Desert’ had drawn 2-2 with Atlético de Madrid, 0-0 with Athletic de Bilbao and 0-0 with second-placed Girona, all of which had come on home turf. If that wasn’t enough to suggest that, despite their lowly league position, they are capable of proving tough to beat against top sides, a half-time lead after captain Adri Embarba’s cool finish certainly was.

As the home advantage continued to last, all the way until the 80th minute, Almería fans must have been dreaming that their wait for a first win of the season was about to end. However, a comeback equaliser of the highest quality from Dodi Lukébakio and Lucas Ocampos’s clever finish completed a late turnaround that had limbs flying in the away end and three points seemingly wrapped up. But, like they have before this season, Almería defied the odds to come away with a point that will ultimately be unsatisfactory for both sides as Marko Milovanović buried a late header to cap off a dramatic finale. 

Chances were missed at both ends in a highly entertaining contest

If chances were stuck away clinically in the last 20 minutes, they were not in the first period. To begin with, Lucas Ocampos collected Ørjan Nyland’s ball over the top but, after returning from suspension to reclaim his place in the starting line-up, the Argentine squared a yard behind the lurking Isaac who would have had a tap-in.

The hosts then provided an early warning of their own with AC Milan loanee Luka Romero firing over at the back post and smart keeping from Nyland cutting out another dangerous home attack. In response, Isaac prodded through, via a deflection, for Youssef En-Nesyri but the Moroccan was always stretching and couldn’t convert the first of a flurry of golden opportunities.

With almost half an hour gone, Kike Salas rose brilliantly to send a looping header towards the top right corner which Luís Maximiano did well to tip onto the bar before beautiful link-up from an increasingly telepathic connection between Isaac and En-Nesyri saw the former race through but, after holding off two defenders, had his effort from a tight angle saved. Dominating for the first time in the match, Isaac was then almost immediately denied by a superb double-save from the home keeper at point-blank range.

Then came the sucker-punch. Showing all the grit they have relied on in draws against big-hitters this season, Almería soaked up the pressure and broke on the counter, Adri Embarba guiding a clinical left-foot finish into Nyland’s far corner after being sent clear by Jonathan Viera. Minutes later, Viera had what felt like the chance in his side’s search for a first league win of the campaign. In a carbon copy of the opening goal, the 34-year old collected a pass after a lightning break but couldn’t match the composure of his teammate Embarba and spooned over when one-on-one in first-half injury time. 

Quique Sánchez Flores had plenty to ponder during the interval and soon turned to his bench. These changes included the notable returns of Dodi Lukébakio and Nemanja Gudelj, the pair both coming on for their first minutes after lengthy injury layoffs. 

The return of the Belgian proved crucial 

Nevertheless, the first big opportunity of the second half fell to the hosts. Viera, before there had been a chance to punish his earlier miss, again fluffed his lines when well-placed with less than 20 minutes of normal time left to play. And, much to the delight of the travelling faithful, this profligacy did, partially, end up costing the home side who, after 28 games are still without a single victory.

The late changes then told as the returning Lukébakio slotted a superb first-time finish into the far corner after Isaac’s equally brilliant run. This in turn set up a grandstand finish as Ocampos appeared to have won it when he showed fantastic improvisation to turn home a corner and spark wild celebrations in the away end.

However, deep into injury time, substitute Milovanović planted an unsaveable header to the right of Nyland, grabbing a point which will do little to boost the hosts’ survival prospects but that is also disappointing given the recent revival under Sánchez Flores, who will now look ahead to Celta Vigo at home on Sunday. 

Cuerpo Inferior


2. UD ALMERÍA: Maximiano, Marc Pubill, César Montes, Radovanovic, Centelles, Edgar, Lopy (Ramazani, minute 88), Luka Romero (Robertone, minute 66), Embarba (Milovanovic, minute 88), Jonathan Viera (Arribas, minute 84) and Lozano (Baptistao, minute 65).

2. SEVILLA FC: Nyland, Jesús Navas (Acuña, minute 60), Badé, Sergio Ramos, Kike Salas, Ocampos, Sow (Suso, minute 60), Óliver Torres (Gudelj, minute 71), Soumaré, Isaac and En-Nesyri (Lukebakio, minute 71).

GOALS: 1-0, minute 38: Embarba; 1-1, minute 81: Lukebakio; 1-2, minute 87: Ocampos; 2-2, minute 90+5: Milovanovic.

REFEREE: Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea. Yellow cards for Badé, Suso and Edgar.