Real called Sevilla and Barça for a grand renewal
This is not the first time this season that Carlo Ancelotti’s team have achieved a positive result in games that are not going well. The stories from the Champions League are fresh in our minds: we won the clash with PSG in the last half hour of the last eight, and against Chelsea in the quarterfinals, Real Madrid squandered their advantage and found themselves on the edge of the precipice, before coming back to play and winning on aggregate in two matches. There was also a non-trivial cummerbund in the King’s Cup: in the match against Elche they turned 0-1 into 2-1, playing in the minority. And it happened in extra time.
Real Madrid have conceded 10 times in the Primera and lost only three times. Two games ended in a draw, while five times the “Slivos” won at will. The first breakthrough came in the fourth round, when Santi Mina and Franco Cervi had to come back twice after goals from Celta. The result was a 5-2 victory. A week later, Madrid lost to Valencia at the Mestalla until the 86th minute, but Vinicius and Benzema turned things upside down in the end. March’s win over Real Sociedad, which opened the scoring in the 10th minute and got four goals in return, proved to be volitional.
But Real Madrid had the sweetest repairs in the championship against Sevilla. First, it was the Andalusians who, for most of the season, acted as Madrid’s main pursuers. Second, the story and substance of the games were spectacular: at the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid conceded on 12 minutes but won 2-1, with Vinicius scoring the winning goal on 86 minutes. At the Ramon Sanchez Pixuan, Ancelotti’s team was losing 0-2 after the first half, but snatched victory on 90+2 minutes with Benzema’s goal. Incidentally, it was Sevilla’s first home defeat in the Primera.
Ancelotti made another mistake with his starting tactics
Before the big match against Sevilla, Real Madrid had serious staffing problems: Casemiro, the team’s only real holding midfielder, missed the game due to suspension, and the left-backs were mowed down by injuries. Mendy and Marcelo were injured in the game against Chelsea, and 20-year-old Gutierrez, who was called up to the first team at the start of the season, recently underwent surgery.
Ancelotti moved Carvajal to the left wing with Lucas Vazquez on the right and left midfield with Eduardo Camavanga, who was surrounded by the experienced Kroos and Modrić. Another nominal center-back, Federico Valverde, was formally placed on the right flank of the attack. Thus, Real Madrid were left without a full three in attack, and Kamawinga failed in his mission of responsibility under Sevilla’s onslaught: the Frenchman failed to keep pace with his opponents, received a yellow card and had to see a red light in front of him.
In the middle of the first half, Sevilla converted their advantage in the game into two goals: Rakitic flashed a free-kick through the wall and Lamela dotted down the attack, during which Real Madrid’s defense was completely disarmed. At this point, the parallels with the recent game against Barcelona, in which the “Sliema” side lost 0-4, became very obvious. By halftime, they had also conceded 0-2, with no clear-cut performance.
This time, Ancelotti has corrected his mistakes
But if Ancelotti’s shuffling at half-time against Barcelona made the situation worse and resulted in more conceded goals, against Sevilla the Italian coach made the right move having put Rodrigo on instead of Camavinho. Kroos became a supporting midfielder, Valverde moved to the middle line, and the trio of Vinicius-Rodrigo-Benzema formed in the attack. These three, directly supported by a couple of vivacious defenders, turned the game around.
Rodrigo scored five minutes after his appearance on the field, Nacho, another substitute, equalized the score, and Karim Benzema scored the winning goal, thus setting a personal record in the Primera. Carvajal gave two assists, and Vinicius gave two great passes before goal, which were decisive in the first and third attacks.
Of course, soccer is a dance for two, so along with the transformation of Real Madrid, we should also pay attention to Sevilla, who were chickening out after the break. Julen Lopetegui’s team went out to defend the 2-0 score, completely abandoning the aggressive play that had allowed for an intermediate result. And after 80 minutes, Sevilla “stood up”, just as in the first round match, again affected the inept distribution of forces.
They outscored Real Madrid by six kilometers in total mileage by this mark, but it was this depleted resource that was not enough in the closing stages as the hosts of Ramon Sanchez Pichuan hung on the ropes much earlier than the final gong. Karim Benzema scored the winning goal from the goalkeeper’s line, at which point the goalkeeper and four Sevilla field players were in front of him, huddled together in a shapeless heap.
Cuadra Fernandez is the Spanish Wilkow
In addition to Real Madrid’s repairs, Cuadra Fernandez’s officiating left a strong impression. Alas, in a negative way. At the very least, these four episodes should be reviewed by the Spanish equivalent of ESC:
- 19th minute. After a corner, Bunu and Diego Carlos both went for the ball, which resulted in the goalkeeper dropping the ball from his hands after colliding with his own defender, after which Diego Carlos already played with his hand. There was movement and unnatural position – all the attributes for a penalty. Fernandez didn’t notice, VAR didn’t interfere.
- 21st minute. Before Rakitic’s accurate free kick, Erik Lamela clearly pushes a wall of Real Madrid players, then runs off to the side. Today’s rules forbid players of the attacking team to come closer than a meter to the wall, and Lamela not only broke the distance, but had an impact. Again no reaction from Fernandez and VAR.
- 37th minute. Camavanga knocks down Marcial, but Cuadra Fernandez does not register the violation of the rules, and then shows a yellow card to the Sevilla forward for demonstrative disagreement. By the way, Antoni was unable to continue the game – an injury. Replays show that Camavanga didn’t reach the ball, and he also thwarted a promising Sevilla attack. It’s an unquestionable yellow card, which would have turned into a red card, because Eduardo had already been cautioned in the 31st minute. VAR couldn’t interfere here and Fernandez didn’t understand the episode.
- 74th minute. Vinicius scored, but Cuadra Fernandez found the Brazilian’s hand. When VAR was turned on, the assistants thought that their colleague had made a mistake and called him to the monitor, but Fernandez, even after reviewing the replays, stood by his original decision. And that’s surprising, because Vinicius played with his shoulder. Not only Real Madrid, but also the Spanish referees are capable of “special things.