SEVILLA LOSE GROUND

Ti­tle hopes hit set­back with Le­ganes draw

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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.

EPA PIC

Le­ganes’ Ruben Perez (left) fouls Sevilla’s Joaquin Cor­rea at Ra­mon Sanchez-Pizjuan’s Sta­dium on Satur­day.

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