Zidane’s men have done it! Sevilla can’t find a way back into it as Real’s defence holds strong and helps them climb to second place in La Liga. They’re level with Athletic Bilbao, only behind on goal difference.
It was Karim Benzema who got the only goal of the game. The French forward who rarely lets his compatriot manager down rose to nod in the winner on 65 minutes. Gareth Bale played the ball to Dani Carvajal and he crossed from the byline planting the ball on Benzema’s head.
Everything that was wrong with Real Madrid against Paris Saint-Germain in midweek was put right in Seville. They defended higher with Sergio Ramos restored to the defence and back to his Machiavellian best grabbing the arm of Ocampos when he had already been booked but escaping a second yellow.
Real Madrid stretched Sevilla with Carvajal over-lapping with purpose. And although Eden Hazard still looks a long way from the player that left Chelsea last summer he worked hard defensive as Madrid matched Sevilla all over the pitch.
For Sevilla it was a frustrating night, especially for coach Julen Lopetegui who was booked in the first half for asking for a yellow card for Bale. His players looked tired from their Thursday Europa League match in Azerbaijan.
They had their keeper to thank for them staying in the game in the first half. Tomas Vaclik saved at close range from Hazard and then from Carvajal who, along with Benzema, was Madrid’s best player on the night. Javier ‘Chihcarito’ Hernandez thought he had equalized with three minutes left but the substitute squirmed the ball past Thibaut Courtois. He looked agonizingly across at the linesman whose flag was, correctly, raised.
Bale could have scored with Madrid’s last kick from Benzema’s pass. It had been a majestic performance from the Madrid centre-forward. This was a big win for them and for Zidane who can now look down on the other 19 managers in La Liga.
‘We can have a calm week now after everything that has been talked about,’ said Ramos. ‘We came here with a real desire to win and we have achieved that.’