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A draw keeps the LaLiga title race alive

MATCH REPORT. 09/05/2021. Photographer: Antonio Villalba and Helios de la Rubia

Asensio and Hazard were on target for Madrid in a game notable for the penalty awarded to Sevilla by the referee.

Real Madrid were unable to take top spot in LaLiga. A draw against Sevilla at the Alfredo Di Stéfano stadium in a difficult match after a first-half goal from Fernando. Sevilla started strong against Zidane's men, but it was the Whites who had the first chance of the game as Benzema's header was disallowed after an Odriozola cross, with VAR cancelling out the goal.
 
The side pressed on in search of the opener as Benzema stole the ball inside the area, but his pass wasn't turned home. Sevilla took the lead with 21 minutes on the clock thanks to Fernando who was on target after a Sevilla free-kick. There was a long time left to play and Vini Jr on two occasions, Benzema and Casemiro all went in search of an equaliser for Real Madrid who ended the first half camped in the visitors’ half.

After the restart both sides went close with long-range strikes - first Acuña for the visitors and then Modrić forced Bono into a save from the edge of the area. Madrid piled on the pressure but Sevilla remained resolute and limited the hosts to shots from distance, notably Nacho and Casemiro. Vini Jr. then struck the post after a fine ball in from Kroos, before Zidane brought on Asensio and Miguel. The Majorcan’s then scored with his first touch after a fluid move involving Benzema and another fine pass from Kross to bring the Whites level on 67’.

Controversy
But there more twists were still to come. On 74’, a Sevilla corner kick struck Militão’s shoulder and then his hand, when the defender had his back to the ball. The play continued and Madrid burst down the other end with Benzema being played in one-on-one with Bono. The Frenchman rounded the keeper, was hauled down and the referee pointed to the spot.  But the VAR then told the match official a penalty was to be awarded for the handball by Militão and Rakitic duly converted to make it 2-1 to the visitors. It was a real hammer blow to Madrid but the hosts were not to be deterred and continued to apply the pressure on the Sevilla goal.  They got their reward in the 94th minute when Kroos fired in a low strike from distance and the ball deflected into the net off Hazard. Casemiro then side-footed an effort inches wide in the dying seconds, but the point keeps Madrid’s title hopes alive.

15 games unbeaten in LaLiga

Real Madrid are unbeaten in 15 consecutive LaLiga games, keeping them in the title race with three games to go.

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The referee

Martínez Munuera (Valencia), assisted on the lines by Prieto López de Cerain and Martinez Munuera. Velasco Arbaiza was the fourth official, with González González as the VAR referee.

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