Sevilla held 1-1 by Alaves in La Liga

Vitoria (Spain), March 7 (IANS) Sevilla wasted an opportunity to move within a point of Real Madrid and just two behind Barcelona in the La Liga football championship after being held 1-1 against a motivated Alaves side that dominated the second half here.

The contest at Vitoria’s Mendizorroza stadium on Monday saw Wissam Ben Yedder give Sevilla the lead in the 23rd minute. Alaves equalised through Aleksandar Katai in the 75th minute.

Sevilla, with 56 points from 26 matches, are only three points behind second-placed Real Madrid, though the capital giants have a game in hand. Alaves sit in the 11th spot with 34 points, reports Efe.

The match between Alaves and Sevilla got off to a fast start and Manu Garcia nearly put the hosts ahead at the two-minute mark with a shot from close range that was deflected at the last moment by a Sevilla defender.

Vitolo threatened for the visitors two minutes later, but his attempt fizzled out.

The home side’s Deyverson headed the ball just over the Sevilla net in the 15th minute after taking a great pass from Kiko Femenia.

Sevilla went up 1-0 in the 23rd minute with a crossing shot from Ben Yedder that beat Alaves goalkeeper Pacheco.

While Vicente Iborra squandered an opportunity to double the advantage for the visitors in the counter-attack in the 39th minute, Alaves had the better of the chances as Sevilla chose to sit in deep and protect their lead.

After the re-start, Alaves picked up where they had left off. Even so, the first chance of the second half went to Sevilla’s Ben Yedder, who sent the ball over the crossbar.

Gaizka Toquero did likewise for the hosts in the 53rd minute and teammate Victor Camarasa hit the post minutes later.

With the equaliser still pending as the match clock passed the hour mark, Alaves head coach Mauricio Pellegrino decided to shuffle the deck, bringing on Oscar Romero and Katai in the 64th minute.

The move paid off 10 minutes later, as Katai scored after Sevilla failed to clear a cross from Oscar Romero.

It took a great stop by Sevilla keeper Sergio Rico to stop Katai from giving Alaves the lead in the 83rd minute on a free kick.

Rico was tested again three minutes later by Deyverson, while Sevilla, despite being outplayed, came close to taking all three points with a stoppage-time effort by Stevan Jovetic.

–IANS

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