SEVILLA LOSE GROUND
Title hopes hit setback with Leganes draw
SEVILLA’S hopes of winning a first La Liga title since 1946 were dented for the second time in five days as they fought back for a 1-1 draw at home to struggling Leganes thanks to Stevan Jovetic’s first-half equaliser on Saturday.
Sevilla are third on 57 points, three behind leaders Barcelona, who visited Deportivo La Coruna late yesterday, and two behind Real Madrid, who hosted Real Betis and have an extra game in hand on both their title rivals.
Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann scored for the fourth time in three games to earn a hard-fought 1-0 win at Granada which leaves Diego Simeone’s side fourth on 52 points, four ahead of Real Sociedad, who met Athletic Bilbao also late yesterday.
Gabriel Pires gave Leganes a shock third minute lead at Sevilla with a clever backheel from close range and the Madrid outfit, who are 16th, missed two chances to double the lead.
Jovetic pulled Jorge Sampaoli’s side level two minutes before halftime after Fernando Vazquez had an effort narrowly ruled offside but Sevilla barely threatened to find a winner in a disappointing display after the break.
They were booed off by supporters after again failing to win following Monday’s 1-1 draw at Alaves.
Sevilla visit Premier League champions Leicester City tomorrow in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie with a slender 2-1 lead.
“Playing like this we’re going to struggle to go far in the Champions League because you face the toughest games against opponents who don’t afford you any mistakes,” Sampaoli told reporters.
“If we don’t manage to improve the way we control games then Tuesday’s game is going to be very difficult. Then again, we haven’t lost for eight games, but we have to try and do much better than we have been doing recently.”
In Saturday’s other games, Valencia’s Munir El Haddadi struck late to salvage a 1-1 draw at home to relegation-threatened Sporting Gijon.
Dani Parejo missed a penalty for the hosts just before Duje Cop put Sporting ahead on the hour.
Malaga coach Michel, the former Real Madrid winger, endured a difficult first game in charge as they lost 2-1 at home to Alaves due to an added-time strike by Edgar Mendez.
Leganes’ Ruben Perez (left) fouls Sevilla’s Joaquin Correa at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan’s Stadium on Saturday.