Sevilla had a head start in La Liga this weekend by playing the Friday night game against Deportivo Alaves. However, they failed to put pressure on league leaders Real Madrid by dropping points instead of closing the gap.
The Andalusian side could have gotten to within three points of Los Blancos with a victory, but were held to a goalless draw by the home side. As such, Real Madrid now sit five points ahead of Sevilla and still with a game in hand.
The leaders have 60 points at the top of the table, and could bring that up to 63, eight points ahead of Sevilla at 55. Of course, Carlo Ancelotti’s side first need to get past Real Sociedad, whom they will be facing on Saturday evening. If they secure a victory, it will be a big boost for their La Liga campaign, and a much needed boost of confidence ahead of their UEFA Champions League clash with PSG on Wednesday.
However, there are no guarantees in football and Real Madrid will need to fight hard to secure all three points. They will also be missing midfield genius Toni Kroos, who is sidelined due to a muscular discomfort. It is unclear how severe the injury is, but they will be hoping to have him back in the second leg of their last-16 encounter against the French giants.
Back to Sevilla and Alaves, it was a squandered opportunity for Sevilla, who are the only ones within striking distance to challenge Real Madrid in La Liga at the moment. Third-placed Real Betis are 14 points away from the leaders, and have a slim chance of challenging for the title.
Sevilla and Alaves both played an excellent match that could have gone in either direction. Alaves striker Joselu had the first opportunity in the opening minute, which needed the intervention of Bono. Sevilla fired back after just five minutes, but the Thomas Delaney goal was disallowed after an offside deflection by Youssef En-Nesyri. Both keepers had to be on their toes all night, but even with a dominant attack, Sevilla could not get past the Alaves wall.
The final ten minutes were as intense as the opening quarter of the match, with both teams able to create chances. In the end no one found a breakthrough and the draw went in favour of Real Madrid. It remains to be seen if they can take advantage of the golden opportunity.