Ben­zema’s beau­ti­ful bit of his­tory

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

very dif­fi­cult ri­val,” Real cap­tain Ser­gio Ramos said. “We didn’t win but we kept our streak alive.”

Cris­tiano Ron­aldo and other reg­u­lars were left out of the start­ing lineup to rest on Thurs­day.

Ben­zema net­ted the equal­izer less than 20 min­utes af­ter com­ing off the bench at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Sta­dium.

The host got on the board with an own goal by Madrid de­fender Danilo in the 10th minute.

How­ever, Marco Asen­sio damp­ened the crowd’s hopes with a su­perb 70-me­ter run from in­side his own penalty area all the way to the Madrid box be­fore un­leash­ing an equal­izer just af­ter half­time.

At that point, Sevilla needed four goals to ad­vance, and it added two through for­mer Manch­ester City striker Ste­van Jovetic, who is on loan from In­ter Mi­lan, and Vi­cente Iborra.

But Madrid net­ted again near the end with a penalty, au­da­ciously con­verted ‘Pa­nenka’ style by Ramos, who was re­turn­ing from in­jury. The de­fender cel­e­brated by pro­vok­ing home fans that had been hurl­ing in­sults at him.

“I apol­o­gized to the fans who didn’t dis­re­spect me like those who have been taint­ing the im­age of Sevilla sup­port­ers,” said Ramos, a Seville na­tive and a for­mer Sevilla player. “In the end, this will al­ways be home for me.”

It was a matchup be­tween the top two teams in La Liga, and a re­match of the Su­per La Liga fix­tures

(all times GMT) Satur­day Le­ganes v Ath­letic Bil­bao (1200, Barcelona v Las Pal­mas (1515, Atletico Madrid v Real Betis (1730,

De­portivo la Coruna v Vil­lar­real (1945, Sun­day Va­len­cia v Es­panyol (1100), Celta Vigo v Alaves (1515,

Mon­day Malaga v Real So­ciedad (1945,

PPTV) Cup fi­nal that Madrid won in ex­tra time five months ago.

“We were close,” Sevilla coach Jorge Sam­paoli said. “We played bet­ter the en­tire match. Un­for­tu­nately, we couldn’t take our chances to show the dif­fer­ence there was be­tween the teams.”

The sides meet again in Seville in the league on Sun­day, when Madrid will de­fend its four-point lead. Zi­dane’s team also has a game in hand.

Madrid is try­ing to win its first Copa since 2014. Last sea­son, it was dis­qual­i­fied in the open­ing round for field­ing an in­el­i­gi­ble player.

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