Real Madrid

Sevilla 2-3 Real Madrid: Player ratings as Los Blancos edge thriller

Max Parsons
Carlo Ancelotti's side worked hard for the win
Carlo Ancelotti's side worked hard for the win / CRISTINA QUICLER/GettyImages

Real Madrid secured a thrilling victory at Sevilla on Sunday night, as Karim Benzema's stoppage-time winner earned Los Blancos a 3-2 win that effectively ends talk of a La Liga title race.

First-half goals from Ivan Rakitic and Erik Lamela weren't enough for the hosts, as second-half strikes from Rodrygo, Nacho Fernandez and, finally, Benzema earned the visitors a hard-fought, vital three points.

In what was an evenly matched affair between Spain's top two side (for now, anyway), it took the divine quality of the Frenchman to, probably unfairly, separate the teams.

While both sides had chances to hurt their opposition (Anthony Martial and Benzema, however, passed up opportunities that might have yielded something), Los Blancos were the ones that maintained control early on and certainly looked more likely to find the back of the net first - that's not how football works, though, is it?

Despite boasting the lion's share of possession and having a penalty claim - Bono shakily flapping the ball onto his teammate's arm could well have been given, to be fair - dismissed, Ancelotti's men were left staring at the turf as Sevilla raced into a two-goal lead after 25 minutes, courtesy of a couple of quick-fire strikes.

The first came immediately after Real were left frustrated by the referee's lack of finger-pointing to the penalty spot, as former Barcelona man Rakitic took advantage of Eder Militao's bizarre decision to jump out of the wall as he saw his free-kick sail into Thibaut Courtois' bottom corner.

Just four minutes later, Julen Lopetegui's men were once again in dreamland as another bit of shoddy defending from Militao allowed Tecatito Corona to race beyond the visiting defence onto Marcos Acuna's pass, before the Mexican's rebounded shot fell perfectly for Erik Lamela to swipe into an empty net.

Sevilla's status as La Liga's best defence was very visible thereafter, as Los Blancos strived in vain to break their opponents down before the break.

Uncharacteristically, Lopetegui's men came out for the second half looking all at sea.

Not long after Benzema had squandered a gilt-edged chance with a tepid finish that was palmed away by Bono, half-time substitute Rodrygo showed good movement in the 18-yard box to latch onto Dani Carvajal's cutback and slot the ball into the roof of the net within five minutes of his introduction.

After a subsequent lull in proceedings, the drama picked up with 20 minutes left on the clock. Just a couple of minutes after Rafa Mir somehow put a simple headed chance from a few yards out into row Z, the visitors thought they were level.

Despite clearly chesting Lucas Vazquez's cross down before clinically rifling a half volley into Bono's net, Vinicius Junior was denied a goal as the referee inexplicably failed to overturn his original call following an on-screen review.

No bother, though; Ancelotti's men did manage to find the equaliser with eight minutes remaining as Carvajal once again provided an inch-perfect cutback after winning the ball back high up the pitch, this time teeing up Nacho to sweep home with his first touch seconds after coming onto the field.

The night's drama was far from concluded, however. Guess who? Yep.

Benzema was on hand to supply Real Madrid with yet another winning goal as he showed alien composure in the box, controlling Rodrygo's cutback, taking a couple of touches, and finally smashing past Bono in the Sevilla net and sending his opposition to their knees.

That's where the nail-biting action ended, giving Ancelotti's side a win that momentarily takes them 15 points clear at the La Liga summit and effectively seals what was left of a title race.

1. Real Madrid (4-3-3)

Karim Benzema, Marcos Acuna
Hero / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

GK: Thibaut Courtois - 6/10 - No chance with the quickfire double in the opening period but was otherwise typically commanding.

RB: Lucas Vazquez - 7/10 -
Seemed very much a target for an attacking Sevilla lineup and, while showing his defensive naivety at times, fared well in his individual duels, managing eight ball recoveries.

CB: Eder Militao - 1/10 -
Two bits of really lacklustre defending allowed Sevilla to surge into a two-goal lead - calamitous errors.

CB: David Alaba - 5/10 -
Generally alert to danger in what was quite a quiet evening for the Austrian.

LB: Dani Carvajal - 8/10 -
Woke up at half time, clearly. Assisted both of his side's goals and worked brilliantly throughout.

Luka Modric - 6/10 - Simply a class act in whatever he does, although showed that he's human by sloppily giving away the fatal free kick in the first half.

Toni Kroos - 6/10 - Defended fairly well and kept things ticking along while occupying a deeper position but, despite therefore having more time on the ball, strangely failed to spray the ball around with much impact.

CM: Eduardo Camavinga - 6/10 -
Put in a solid performance and largely did things intelligently at both ends of the field, although was sacrificed for a more attacking option at the break.

RW: Federico Valverde - 6/10 -
His insatiable dynamism helped Real re-establish control after being moved back into midfield for the second period, popping up all over the shop and doing the simple, but important, things well.

ST: Karim Benzema - 8/10 -
You can't write it. Simply ridiculous.

LW: Vinicius Junior - 7/10 -
A constant thorn in the side; played a big part on his side's first and was so unjustly denied a goal of his own. Honestly no clue how it wasn't allowed.

SUB: Rodrygo (RW, for Camavinga) - 8/10 - Instant impact, teeing up a very intriguing second period with a tidy finish before assisting the winner.

SUB: Marco Asensio (AM, for Modric) - 5/10 - Not too much of an influence after his arrival.

SUB: Nacho Fernandez (RB, for Vazquez) - 8/10 - Wow. What an introduction and what an impact!

SUB: Mariano Diaz (ST, for Benzema) - N/A