Real Madrid 2-2 Sevilla: Advantage Atletico in LaLiga title race

Real Madrid 2-2 Sevilla: Advantage Atletico in LaLiga title race

It was in all in their hands and then it wasn't. Real Madrid's hold on the Spanish title slipped in 90 dramatic minutes at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium when they were held 2-2 by Sevilla.

The game turned on one controversial penalty incident in the second half leaving Zinedine Zidane furious with the referee for giving Sevilla a spot-kick instead of his team.

The Real Madrid manager sought out referee Juan Martinez on the final whistle and looked less than pleased with the explanation he was given for the penalty against Militao for handball.

'I'm very annoyed,' said Zidane. 'The referee's explanation did not satisfy me.' He wants desperately to be the first Madrid coach to win back-to-back leagues since Leo Beenhakker in the late eighties. And now it's out of his hands.

Now with three games to go they need Atletico Madrid to slip up in matches against Real Sociedad, Osasuna and Valladolid to give Real Madrid a chance of winning LaLiga.

They thought they had made the perfect start when Karim Benzema climbed above Jules Kounde to head in Alvaro Odriozola's cross but the Real Madrid right-back was offside and the goal was ruled out.

Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui had bravely opted to flood midfield and play without 17-goal Youssef En-Nesyri and for that plan to work he needed someone else to step forward with a goal. The opener came from an unexpected source with holding midfielder Fernando the coolest head in the penalty are on 22 minutes. Casemiro and Odriozola threw themselves to block but he kept his head and drilled the ball past Thibaut Courtois.

Real Madrid needed a way back into the game and with Eden Hazard on the bench it looked as if the Belgian might be the solution but Zidane turned instead to Marco Asensio and he did not disappoint scoring the equalizer on 67 minutes.

Parity was short-lived however when 11 minutes later Sevilla got themselves back in front. There were two penalties given in the space of 30 seconds but only one could be given. First Militao's outstretched arm made contact with the ball as he jumped to clear a corner made.

Sevilla players appealed for a spot-kick but the referee waved play on and Benzema sprinted on to a long ball, rounding Bono and going down under the Sevilla's challenge. It was a penalty. But so was the incident 30 seconds earlier and when the referee Juan Martinez watched the Militao infraction again on the pitchside monitor he didn't need to review Benzema's tumble. As Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui said post game: 'everything after the Militao handball was irrelevant'.

Ivan Rakitic added: 'If it hits the hand then it's hand ball. It's only when we get into interpretation then we confuse things. It was a definite penalty.'

Rakitic it was who stepped up to bury the spot-kick past Courtois and do his former team-mates at Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, and his own side a huge favour. They were in front and there was just over ten minutes left for Real Madrid to salvage the game and perhaps their season.

They did not look like doing it. There was lots of possession and Eden Hazard came on but failed to spark once more. There were 93 minutes on the clock when a desperate Toni Kroos tried his luck from distance. The ball struck Hazard and fizzed past Bono for 2-2. The Belgian will take any goal he can get right now but the credit is all the German's. He never gave up and with his last attempt he had salvaged a point.

The draw meant Lopetegui has still not beaten Real Madrid since they sacked him in 2019. But he had seriously dented their title hopes.

Real Madrid finished the night on 75 points. Two points behind Atletico Madrid with just three games to go.

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