Skip to content

Sevilla upset sends Real Madrid to second straight loss, third place

Mar 26, 2014, 8:07 PM EDT

cristiano_ronaldo AP

Remember last week? Oh, it was great. All your NCAA brackets were perfect, President Obama’s mom jeans were still funny, and D.C. wasn’t buried under four feet of snow. The world was our oyster and oysters didn’t secretly taste like flat Smirnoff Ice. Halcyon days, my friend.

At least, that’s how Real Madrid might describe them. Seven days ago, we saw the Merengues as one of the top two teams in Europe – the squad that could prevent Bayern Munich from retaining its European title. Since then El Real has lost at home to Barcelona and, after today’s 2-1 at the Sanchez Pizjuan, fallen at Sevilla.

They’ve also fallen behind in La Liga. Atlético Madrid, 1-0 winners of Granada, is alone at the top of the league, now with 73 points in 30 games. Barcelona, overcoming Víctor Valdés’s misfortune to down Celta Vigo, are second with 72. Thanks to its two-straight losses, Real Madrid is now back in third — the place they’ve occupied for most of the season — with 70 points.

The day got off to a strong start, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s opener giving the visitors a lead after 14 minutes. Five minutes later, however, Carlos Bacca pulled Unai Emery’s team even, with the Colombian’s second mid-way through the final period giving Sevilla a 2-1 win.

It’s not like Real Madrid played poorly, though Diego López in goal did have a bad day. The visitors kept 69 percent of the ball and managed eight shots on target, outshooting Sevilla 26-12 overall. They forced Beto, Sevilla’s goalkeeper, into a Man of the Match-caliber performance. Ultimately, however, they were unable to protect their lead and fell for the fourth time this season.

This is why those early season stumbles mattered. This is why there were doubts about Real Madrid’s title chances, even as they looked so good in January. When they finally claimed Spain’s lead, those concerns naturally disappeared, but the logic was the same. Real Madrid’s early struggles — the hole it dug behind Atlético and Barcelona — eliminated its margin for error. They couldn’t afford another down period.

When Atlético and Barça struggled in February, Real Madrid took advantage. Now, unable to maintain their torrid pace, they’re giving new life to those buried worries. With eight rounds to go — having been shaken on Saturday by their arch rivals — Real Madrid need help to claim the title.

That help could still come when Atlético faces Barcelona on the season’s last day. And with each team having shown their vulnerabilities, games like Atleti’s Saturday visit to Athletic don’t guarantee three points.

Yet where once Real Madrid controlled their La Liga fate, now they’re at the mercy of their two rivals. And it all changed over the course of four days.

Latest Posts
  1. Toronto FC breaks ground for stadium renovations

    Sep 23, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT

    Photo from Toronto FC. Photo from Toronto FC.

    The two-phase plan is expected to be completed by May of 2016 and will cost an estimated $120 million.

  2. Report: LA Galaxy eyeing move for Andrea Pirlo

    Sep 23, 2014, 7:28 PM EDT

    Comments Off
    Italy Training & Press Conference - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Getty Images

    The 35-year-old midfielder won the World Cup with Italy in 2006 and is regarded as one of the best playmakers of his generation.

  3. WATCH: Michael Bradley rips MLS, referees

    Sep 23, 2014, 6:39 PM EDT

    FBL-WC-2014-MATCH45-USA-GER Getty Images

    The Toronto FC midfielder and U.S. international was fined for his harsh comments regarding the refereeing in Toronto’s draw with Chicago.

  4. League Cup Roundup: Liverpool survive 15-round shootout, Arsenal out

    Sep 23, 2014, 5:49 PM EDT

    Liverpool v Middlesbrough - Capital One Cup Third Round Getty Images

    Anfield played host to a match that saw two extra-time goals and a penalty shootout that went 15 rounds before the Reds could claim their place in the fourth round.

  5. UEFA to investigate Partizan Belgrade for anti-Semitic banner

    Sep 23, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    FK Partizan v Neftci PFK - UEFA Europa League Getty Images

    The Serbian club’s supporters were seen waving a banner displaying an anti-Semitic phrase during their Europa League match against Tottenham.

  6. VIDEO: Jozy Altidore scores League Cup goal against Stoke

    Sep 23, 2014, 4:08 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    Altidore is off and running for the 2014-15 season, watch his goal.

  7. Three out of five is bad: CSKA Moscow faces racism charge for fan acts

    Sep 23, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    imgres

    UEFA has already ruled — based on previous offenses — that CSKA’s match against Bayern Munich next week will be played in an empty stadium.

  8. Manchester City’s Pellegrini won’t rule out Lampard loan extension

    Sep 23, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT

    Frank Lampard AP

    What would Lampard want? Hard to tell from the weekend’s goal celebration or lack thereof?

  9. ESPN sends Clint Dempsey out to ask people about USMNT captain (video)

    Sep 23, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT

    clint_dempsey AP

    You do get the feeling they had to do a bunch of work to find people who failed to recognize Dempsey, if only because of the interviews that made the final cut.

  10. League Cup third round preview: What qualifies as an upset?

    Sep 23, 2014, 12:42 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer League Cup AP

    The possibilities for juicy upsets aren’t dancing through the slate of third round matches, but there’s plenty to look forward to…

  11. Gyan to speak on journalist beating and refute human sacrifice rumors in press conference

    Sep 23, 2014, 11:43 AM EDT

    Brazil Soccer WCup Portugal Ghana AP

    Ghana national teamer and Al Ain striker Asamoah Gyan has called a press conference to refute non-sensical claims that he killed his friend to gain magical powers.

  12. Anfield $164m expansion approved; Liverpool’s home to near 59,000 cap

    Sep 23, 2014, 10:53 AM EDT

    _77766716_lfc_view01_final

    Anfield has been Liverpool’s home since 1892, and the new construction is slated to finish in time for the start of the 2016/17 season.

  13. PST’s Major League Soccer power rankings: Double(d) vision edition

    Sep 23, 2014, 10:08 AM EDT

    Sounders Union Soccer AP

    Oh, the challenges that await a man altering another man’s power rankings.

  14. US Soccer stands by Solo stance; Media backlash keeps on coming

    Sep 23, 2014, 9:06 AM EDT

    Mexico v United States Getty Images

    Hope Solo advocates have been angered by some columns claiming she shouldn’t be playing, while a national pundit gives his take on the story

  15. PST’s Major League Soccer player of the week: No question who was tops

    Sep 23, 2014, 8:09 AM EDT

    Bradley Wright-Phillips AP

    Bradley Wright-Phillips, you may now step forward to collect your prize of Internet-based high-fives.

  16. FIFA-outlined new head injury protocol will go up for vote

    Sep 23, 2014, 7:40 AM EDT

    West Ham United v Liverpool - Premier League Getty Images

    It’s hard to imagine the new head safety measures won’t pass quickly, and reports say they could be in effect by October.

  17. ICYMI: Insane 90-yard volley sets Bundesliga record for longest goal

    Sep 23, 2014, 12:14 AM EDT

    Stoppelkamp AP

    Newly-promoted Paderborn is shocking the Bundesliga and providing quite the show in the process.

  18. Americans Abroad Review: English-based Americans struggle, Green shocks parents Bayern

    Sep 22, 2014, 11:28 PM EDT

    Guzan Getty Images

    It was a rough weekend for Americans in England, but outside the country things a little more enjoyable.

  19. WATCH: Men in Blazers show debuts on NBCSN

    Sep 22, 2014, 10:51 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 10.50.08 PM

    The full debut of Men In Blazers graced NBC Sports Network tonight with an assist from Adam Richman.

  20. Often mocked by fans, Wenger says Abou Diaby should command respect

    Sep 22, 2014, 10:04 PM EDT

    Diaby Getty Images

    Despite making just sixteen league appearances the last three years, the Gunners manager says Diaby should be commended for his perseverance.

Featured video

Week 5: Top five Premier League goals