WINNING STREAK SNAPPED

Sevilla’s run halted by Alaves, lose ground to Barcelona and Real

New Straits Times - - Sport -

SEVILLA couldn’t man­age more than a 1-1 draw at Alaves on Mon­day, see­ing their ti­tle chances take a hit in La Liga af­ter both Barcelona and Real Madrid won their week­end games.

The re­sult snapped Sevilla’s four-game winning streak and left them three points be­hind sec­ond-placed Madrid and four points be­hind lead­ers Barcelona.

Jorge Sam­paoli’s team opened with a first-half goal by Wis­sam Ben Yed­der but con­ceded a 75thminute equaliser af­ter a mis­take by goal­keeper Ser­gio Rico.

Both teams had great scor­ing chances the rest of the match at the Men­di­zor­roza Sta­dium but couldn’t cap­i­talise on them.

It was only the third game with­out a win for Sevilla in the last 12 league rounds. The other set­backs were a 0-0 draw against Vil­lar­real and a 3-1 loss at Es­panyol when they played most of the game with 10 men.

Ben Yed­der opened the scor­ing in the 23rd minute af­ter en­ter­ing the area and fir­ing a low shot into the far cor­ner.

Sevilla couldn’t ex­ploit their op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­crease the lead be­fore half­time and Alaves took con­trol in the sec­ond half.

“We should have taken ad­van­tage of our chances in the first half,” Sam­paoli said.

Alek­san­dar Katai equalised for the hosts about 10 min­utes af­ter com­ing off the bench as Rico failed to hold on to a cross into the area. The ball ric­o­cheted off the mid­fielder and went into the goal.

“There was a bit of bad luck in that play,” Rico said. “But in the end we earned a point away from home and we will keep fight­ing un­til the end.”

Os­car Romero, who came on in the sec­ond half and rein­vig­o­rated Alaves, pro­vided the cross that led to Katai’s goal.

“We had a lot of re­spect for our ri­vals, we know that they are fight­ing at the top of the ta­ble,” Romero said. “We were able to equalise and in the end nearly got the vic­tory.”

Alaves, who play Barcelona in the King’s Cup fi­nal on May 27, stayed 11th in the 20-team league with 34 points.

Sevilla, seek­ing their first league ti­tle since the 1945-46 sea­son, lost ground on the top two. Barcelona routed Celta Vigo 5-0 at the Nou Camp on Satur­day and Real won 4-1 at Eibar.

EPA PIC

Sevilla’s Ben Yed­der (cen­tre) cel­e­brates his goal against Alaves on Mon­day.

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