Sevilla Fútbol Club came back from a goal down to beat a flat Real Sociedad 3-2 in the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium, as Julen Lopetegui managed to buy some much-needed relief and reduce the pressure on himself.
Story of the Match
Sevilla came into this game off the back of two straight defeats, the latest being when they blew a 2-0 lead over Eibar, so Lopetegui was looking for a response in the late Sunday night game against La Real. The visitors, on the other hand, came off the back of three straight wins with the latest being a 3-0 hammering of Deportivo Alavés in the latest Basque derby.
Early on it looked like Sociedad were going to continue where they left off on Thursday night, as Adnan Januzaj’s high press in Sevilla's half allowed him to steal the ball from Sergio Reguilón. After gaining possession Januzaj played a brilliant through ball that was inch-perfect for Mikel Oyarzabal to pick up and slot it past Tomás Vaclík, making it 1-0 to the visitors in just the fourth minute.
Although going a goal down Sevilla were well on top in this game with Lopetegui being very animated on the touchline. Nolito was getting into the game more and more, constantly picking up the ball on the left and driving inside trying to fashion a shooting opportunity. Yet no real chances came until the 17th minute when Éver Banega produce a wonderful long ball from deep into the back post. Nolito unmarked on the left side, volleyed the ball with the side of his foot, the ball just curled into the side netting on the far side. There was little Alex Remiro could do to prevent it from becoming 1-1.
As the first half went on, La Real were dropping deeper and deeper. The effects of playing Thursday night were clear to see as there was a real lack of intensity from them in this game. Sevilla, on the other hand, maintained constant pressure on Sociedad, as they were looking to grab a second. The best chance came to Jules Koundé, whose scissor kick from a corner fizzed over Remiro’s goal. Half time arrived and the game was delicately poised at 1-1, with Sevilla looking the more likely to score next.
The second half got underway, and in the 47th minute Sociedad were caught napping at the back, when a handball was given against Oyarzabal just inside their half. The ball boy quickly rushed a spare ball back into play for Sevilla, allowing Jesús Navas to take a quick freekick to release Lucas Ocampos down the right-hand side. Ocampos who had been very lively in the first half for Sevilla was left completely unmarked on the right side of the pitch. It was evident that La Real had completely switched off at that moment in time, as Nacho Monreal simply watched as his man drifted away from him. Ocampos still had a lot to do but, a beautiful bit of skill allowed him to check inside and get past David Zurutuza. From here he blasted the ball past Remiro and into the left side of the goal, 2-1 to the home side.
Even after using all their substitutes La Real did not look like scoring, as they were being overrun in the midfield by Sevilla, who were looking for a third. In the 75th minute, Sevilla looked like they were going get the third they were desperately after, as Joan Jordán’s long-range effort cracked off the left post before being scrambled away to safety. Finally, Martin Ødegaard started exercise some influence and after dribbling past the Sevilla midfield he slotted in Willian José, who couldn’t compose himself enough as he sliced the shot wide.
Only a couple minutes later in the 80th minute Reguilón broke down the left-hand side creating six on six scenario for Sevilla, with plenty of space for them to push into. The ball was switched to the right-hand side to Alejandro Pozo, who showed Monreal inside before bursting past him to the touchline. He whipped a powerful low cross into the box. that Remiro managed to parry, but only into the centre of the box. It landed straight at Franco Vázquez’s feet, and the sub slotted the ball into an empty net with his first touch after coming on, 3-1 and the game looked done for La Real.
However, the third goal sparked some life into Real Sociedad as they started to throw everyone forward, Ødegaard was starting to create some opportunities, finding Alexander Isak but he was unable to finish. As they were pushing forward spaces were starting to show up at the back. Sevilla were looking to exploit these gaps and were unlucky not to get a fourth as Vazquez had another chance from a cross that skimmed over the bar. Yet, the game was brought back into life in the 86th minute. Ødegaard picked the ball up on the right side forcing Deigo Carlos to commit to a tackle, instead of gaining possession the ball rolled straight past him into Portu’s feet. From there Portu caressed the ball into the bottom left corner, to make it 3-2. Tension started to rise inside the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium. However, Sevilla calmly slowed the game down and saw out the remainder to win and put themselves into sixth place, level on points with Real Sociedad and Barcelona.
Throughout the game Ocampos was lively and dangerous for Sevilla, he was driving at a tired La Real defence and getting the best of Monreal on most occasions. The skill used to create some space for his goal showed his class today. It was a very impressive performance until he was substituted in the 71st minute.
His passing created space and chances for Sevilla throughout the game, partnered with his ground covered it meant they were able to dominate the midfield. His pass for the first goal was out of this world and from then on, he dictated the game until he was taken off in 79th minute with job well done.
Sevilla: Tomás Vaclík; Sergio Reguilón, Diego Carlos, Jules Koundé, Jesús Navas; Fernando, Óliver Torres (Joan Jordán 62nd), Éver Banega (Franco Vázquez 79th); Nolito, Luuk de Jong, Lucas Ocampos (Alejandro Pozo 71st).
Real Sociedad: Alex Remiro; Joseba Zaldúa, Diego Llorente (Mikel Merino 46th), Aritz Elustondo, Nacho Monreal; Igor Zubeldia, David Zurutuza (Alexander Isak 62nd), Adnan Januzaj (Portu 55th), Martin Ødegaard; Willian José, Mikel Oyarzabal.