Sevilla emerged from the weekend’s big visit with the major objectives intact: nearly every key player rested, no injuries among those that played, and no red cards. This may seem like trying to find the silver lining in the cloud of losing a tough away match we had the opportunity to win, but if the results had been reversed and we’d won but not rested players, or had gotten cards, or injuries…well, those three points wouldn’t seem like much of a silver lining at all as we enter the week.
Because of course this week we play what I feel like I can safely say is the biggest match currently on the calendar. It’s big because we play what I’d say is our biggest rival in La Liga, the Liga team closest to our Copa and Europa success and a side with whom we share lot of animosity. It’s big because it’s the home return leg of a semifinal in which the team needs to turn around a 2–1 loss. It’s big because this one game represents an opportunity to earn several million euros by qualifying to the Europa League. It’s big because this is our best (only) chance to win silver this year. And so on. This is, as I was saying, the biggest match of the year.
Sevilla faces an Atleti side having a pretty incredible year, 4 points ahead of Real Madrid and in 2nd place, and if the recent elimination from the Europa was a downer for them, the ability to focus on the riches to be found in the CL next year will be more than enough consolation. But of course the loss of European competition means that this Copa semifinal is also their last chance for a trophy, and it seems very likely they’ll be as focused and motivated as the home team (perhaps moreso, as their absolutely shambolic finances mean they probably need the money more desperately than Del Nido does).
But in a game of such intense rivalry and of such magnitude for both teams, “focus” and “motivation” shouldn’t even be a talking point. At last, after games of rotations and saving players for cards or to avoid injuries, here is a match between to roughly equally talented teams playing in one game they both unreservedly want a result from. If you can, stop by to experience this hopefully fantastic match with your brothers here at Monchi’s Men. It’ll probably be the best way to enjoy the game (unless, of course, you’re going with messioronolado, in which case enjoy the game, and also I kind of hate you).