As the seasons change in Seville, a new era begun at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán as Diego Alonso delivered a well-earned point in his first match in the dugout. Despite the tough start in the form of a visit from league leaders Real Madrid on an overcast early Saturday evening, it was high-octane display that will leave fans excited for what is to come.
The visitors burst out of the gates and had the ball in the back of the net in the fourth minute, only for Vinícius Júnior’s strike to be disallowed for offside. Shortly after, they found themselves in the same position as Jude Bellingham converted a counter-attacking move, but the Englishman had failed to realise play had been halted due to Ocampos receiving treatment at the other end of the pitch.
The pause in play allowed us to gain some composure and upon the restart, our midfield looked much more comfortable, most notably thanks to Boubakary Soumaré, a statement selection by our new Uruguayan coach, handing the Leicester City loanee his first start after his summer arrival. From the 20-minute mark, we enjoyed our most dominant spell, with a flurry of opportunities. There was a great double chance as Ivan Rakitic’s header was cleared off the line, with Lucas Ocampos’s curling follow-up shot denied by the stretching Kepa Arrizabalaga. Minutes later, as the midfield continued to take hold of the game, Djibril Sow drove forward and dragged his shot just wide when well placed.
We started the second half brightly, with a brilliant attacking move that culminated with a Rakitic header hitting the target and testing Kepa. However, there was a scare as Ferland Mendy brought down Navas, who received treatment pitch-side as Rakitic’s free-kick quickly turned into a chance on goal from Toni Kroos. It was a reminder not to underestimate the away side’s quality as another chance came courtesy of Rodrygo, whose close-range effort denied by the feet of Nyland at the near-post. As the skies darkened, the atmosphere turned up a notch and the fans’ energy drove another flurry of chances. Despite a proactive move to take control of the game through the introduction of Luka Modric, it was Sevilla who took the lead, continuing to pile on the pressure, resulting in a defensive mistake.
Upon the half-hour mark, play calmed down as both teams regrouped. Los Blancos created more chances, particularly down the left-hand side, launching several balls to Vinícius, but the Brazilian was kept at bay by Jesús Navas. After a shaky start, the defence really held their own – Sergio Ramos intervened with a goal-line clearance and Orjan Nyland stood up against Vinicius one-on-one, making a crucial save. The final opportunity of the first period came when Gudelj strikes just wide in our first corner of the game.
Another reminder of the quality of Carlo Ancelotti's team came just four minutes later when Carvajal scored from a corner. Despite the blow, the Sevilla attack did not relent, and earned a corner straight from the restart, forcing a diving save from Kepa. The game remained open and tensions boiled when Nyland was fouled following a chance at the other end, resulting in a confrontation involving several players from both sides.
10 minutes from time, both teams made double changes as Erik Lamela and Rafa Mir gave Sevilla the edge in the closing stages. Suso’s free kick on the edge of the area in stoppage time was fired just over the bar, before a Toni Kroos free kick, which threatened to scupper a well-earned point, went straight into Nyland’s arm. Alonso’s men left the pitch with their heads held high as they head into a week of Champions League action, welcoming Arsenal on Tuesday.