In what was supposed to be a game that would signal the beginning of a new era at our club, there was, in the end, a very familiar feeling for all of a Sevilla persuasion.
As the rain drove down relentlessly in the Norwegian city of Trondheim, any thoughts of the searing heat back home must have seemed like a distant memory as the players stepped out onto the heavy pitch. Despite the conditions, and in true ‘Nunca se rinde’ Sevilla style, the players rolled up their sleeves and gave it their best effort. Despite this, we ultimately came up short once again against more illustrious Super Cup opponents, and after two hours of slogging it out, it was Real Madrid who scored the decisive, killer goal, the likes of which was asking just too much for our bedraggled and patched together team to come back from. And to think, after 92 minutes of normal time it could have been oh so different. We were literally seconds away from landing another major European trophy. The confidence we would have gained could potentially have been priceless going into the domestic season ahead. We do indeed have every right to feel like someone has booted us in the collective balls with the way it all eventually panned out.
To the game itself, we dominated possession in the first half without creating many clear cut chances, and it was Real who took the lead with a stunning long ranger from Asensio after 20 minutes. There wasn’t much Rico could have done to stop it. Perhaps we could have been a bit quicker closing the Madrid player down, but in reality it was one of those wonder goals no one could see coming. 0-1 We kept playing our game though, and after a few half chances Vietto crossed to Vitolo, who, by accident or design, bundled the ball into the path of Vasquez 10 yards from goal. Just when you thought they had got in the way of each other, Vasquez proceeded to expertly angle the ball on the volley into the bottom corner of the Madrid net, and just like that it was all square at 1-1 going into the half time break.
We kept them at bay in the second period, and with 20 minutes left took the lead for the first time. Vitolo, who was my man of the match, did what he does best and, after a mazey run, cut inside Ramos, who left a trailing leg, and won us a huge penalty! Subsitute Konoplyanka, sporting a number ’10’ shirt, stroked the ball home with ease and we were ahead, and looking good for the victory. 2-1
Real had already brought on Benzema, and now turned to James to provide the extra spark of quality they so badly needed. It didn’t seem to be working out for them until we switched off deep into stoppage time. Ramos rising unchallenged four yards from goal to head into the empty net. 2-2. Full time.
The body language told its own story, as Sevilla bodies slumped to the ground, whilst Real Madrid players found an extra adrenaline boost. And extra time was only a minute or so old when Kolo saw red for a second yellow (the first coming only a few moments before full time) which put us under even more pressure. Rico made a few one on one blocks, and saves from range, and just when it looked like we could hold on for penalties, Konoplyanka decided to try and run around 3 Madrid players in his own half. Carvajal gleefully stole the ball from Kono’s toe, and somehow found a final burst of energy to run straight through our defence like a hot knife through butter (what was Rami doing??) before prodding the ball past Rico to win the tie. 2-3 Heartbreak for Sevilla.
As disappointing as this result is, especially under the circumstances of losing such a late goal when victory and another trophy was within touching distance, we have to be quite happy with the performance of the team. Even in the difficult conditions, we tried to keep the ball on the ground and play football, and we dominated possession and out-passed Real for long periods of the game. Of course the objective is to outscore them too, and we so nearly did just that, had it not been for some sloppy defending allowing Ramos a free header in injury time. I though N’Zonzi could have put in the extra effort to track Ramos, but it was easy to say from the comfort of my armchair.
It is way too early to judge Sampaoli, but from what I could see tonight, quite a lot of our play resembled what we did under Emery (the passing out from deep etc.) and this caused us some problems when Madrid decided to press high up. Whether or not that is a hangover from the Emery way or not will remain to be seen, but overall there were some encouraging signs.
I was planning on marking each player, but since it is quite late here and I have work in the morning I will leave that up to you guys 🙂
For me though, from the new players, I wasn’t too impressed with Vietto (service to him was poor to be fair), but Vazquez played really well, and Kiyotake was quite solid, if unspectacular.
Vitolo showed his class once again, and with Banega, Krycho and Gameiro now gone, he is now the star man in our side. Hopefully he takes on the role and puts in this kind of performance every week from now on.
Overall, down, disappointed, but I am confident we will pick ourselves up and go again. After all, ‘Dicen que nunca se rinde’
Buenas noches amigos