A late header from captain Dani Carvajal secured Real Madrid a 1-1 draw at Sevilla on Saturday as the La Liga leaders battled back after David Alaba’s own goal had given the hosts the lead.
Real moved on to 25 points from 10 games, three ahead of Girona, the surprise package of the season who hosts bottom side Almeria on Sunday. Barcelona, third on 21 points, faces Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
It was a feisty affair in Seville, as a frustrated Real was thwarted by two early disallowed efforts following contentious refereeing decisions.
Real’s players and manager Carlo Ancelotti complained to the referee repeatedly in the first half; first when he ruled out an early Federico Valverde strike for an offside in the build-up; then when Jude Bellingham had the ball in the net but the referee said he had already stopped play so a Sevilla player could receive medical attention; and also when they claimed Jesus Navas had fouled Vinicius Jr in the box but the referee saw no infringement.
Sevilla then started to fight back into the match and almost scored as Carvajal made a goal-line clearance to keep out an Ivan Rakitic strike.
Defender Sergio Ramos, facing the club where he made his name for the first time since rejoining his childhood team, made a crucial goal-line clearance of his own to help Sevilla keep the game level before halftime.
The second half was all about the goalkeepers, with both Kepa Arrizabalaga and Orjan Nyland making brilliant saves to keep their sides in contention.
Sevilla’s Nyland made a brilliant reflex save to deny a Rodrygo point-blank strike early on, and Real’s Kepa palmed round the post a fine Ivan Rakitic strike from range.
But Real went behind after an own goal by defender Alaba as he challenged forward Youssef En Nesyri in the 74th minute.
Carvajal levelled the score four minutes later, however, with a towering close-range header from a Toni Kroos cross.
The match became increasingly tense, with five bookings in the final minutes following a couple of scuffles.
“It was an even match, competitive, with intensity,” coach Ancelotti told reporters.
“I think we played better in the first half than in the second. We didn’t make the most of the chances we had and in the second half Sevilla played well, with intensity, it cost us a bit more.
“The result seems right to me. Sometimes it can happen. We tried, Sevilla tried, and nothing.”
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