Sevilla came out the victors in this duel of sorta friendly clubs. Villarreal has earned the respect of La Liga this season with their play, and they have been in Sevilla’s corner all along in the fight for fair TV revenue sharing.
In a demonstration of this solidarity (???), Villarreal gave Sevilla a 2-0 lead after 14 minutes today. Wait a minute, “gave”? Not really. Negredo’s 2-0 goal was not entirely due to the defender’s ineptness, but partial credit should go to him. Rakitic’s opening goal came from a perfect dead ball strike after Zokora had surged up through the Villarreal midfield and toward their CBs where he was brought to ground before entering the area.
We seemed to put the match on cruise control after that, but to Villarreal’s credit, they crept back into the match culminating in a flourish of chances at the end of the first half. The second half was all Villarreal except for some isolated holding play from the home boys. Villarreal’s first goal came on an unfortunate lack of communication/concentration, culpable parties being Rakitic and Caceres. Marchena found space between them to control and shoot before either could get to him. This was really the consummation of several minutes of Villarreal dominance and danger on the edge of our 18. Several darting passes barely missed their mark before the one that met Marchena.
After the goal, Manzano brought in Romaric who helped to keep the match a little more contained. He distributed and held up better than Rodri was able in another forgettable 60 minutes. A couple minutes after his coming on, Romaric ran onto a header from Negredo at the top of the area and slotted a shot behind the onrushing keeper to give us back the two goal cushion. Ten minutes later, though, Villarreal deservingly closed the gap to one goal again off a nice dink-n-dink between Rossi and Marchena.
The match heated up quite a bit when Rossi elbowed Escude before breaking away into the open field. Escude was left bloody and calling for the trainers, but Rossi played on after receiving the pass, dummied past two defenders and pinged a shot off the near post that spun and rolled around the far post and out for a goal kick. A shoving match ensued that won Romaric and Marchena yellow cards. Later, the Biris Norte could be seen throwing extra balls out onto the field in a shameless attempt to slow Villarreal’s clear momentum surge. Marchena swept Perotti out in the 84′ to earn his second yellow and an early shower, and though we had several chances to put the match away in the final minutes, we ended up sweating it out in the final five minutes of extra time.
MOTM: Diego Perotti. He played stellar on the left all match, winning numerous fouls and balls as well as terrorizing Mario and Marchena (who saw three yellows between them). His assist on Negredo’s goal was quality, and he caused several other chaotic moments behind the Villarreal defense.
We’re still in sixth, tied on points but ahead of Atlético. Espanyol lost yet again so they are now four points away in eighth. We’re two behind Athletic and eight behind the team we just beat for the third time in four tries this season. Damn if that doesn’t say more about our season than anything.
Opine on the win, oh Sevillistas of the internet!