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Zinedine Zidane could breathe a sigh of relief as Yassine Bounou’s own goal gave Real Madrid a 1-0 victory over Sevilla.
The Madrid manager has come under increasing pressure after an unstable start to the season in LaLiga and the Champions League.
His side had many opportunities to beat Sevilla comfortably, but could not find a decisive shot, until the local goalkeeper ran out of luck in the second half.
A low cross from Ferland Mendy looked certain to be brought home by Vinicius Junior, but he only made the slightest connection and the ball was deflected towards Bounou, with a late save from Lucas Ocampos’s Thibaut Courtois at the other end securing a valuable win. .
1 – Yassine Bounou is the first goalkeeper to score an own goal in LaLiga this season and the first Sevilla goalkeeper to score an own goal in the 21st century competition. Misfortune.
– OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 5, 2020
Struck by a midweek loss to Shakhtar Donetsk that has put Madrid in a European bind, Zidane needed a break from former Los Blancos manager Julen Lopetegui at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuan Stadium.
Madrid turned away a glorious opportunity in the first minute when Rodrygo found Vinicius unmarked in the penalty area, but a low kick to the far corner bounced just wide.
Then Bounou almost gave Madrid a first goal when his punt attempt collided with Vinicius and crossed the goal.
Karim Benzema was waiting to head from close range, but defender Diego Carlos beat him and headed the relieved Bounou with his head.
Toni Kroos and Benzema were close before the break, but Sevilla’s stamina ended in the 55th minute.
A clever pass from Benzema picked Mendy down the left, and his low cross should have been ideal for Vinicius, but it turned out to be far from ideal for Bounou.
His head-to-hand moment made Bounou the first Sevilla goalkeeper to score an own goal in 21st century LaLiga.
Suso came close to a spectacular draw, but sent his shot too high, with Courtois grateful to see it wide, before the Madrid goalkeeper saved well from Ocampos’ acrobatic volley to seal the points.
What does that mean? Pure relief for Madrid
Madrid climbed to third place in the table, at least temporarily, with this victory that should give Zidane some success. They were comfortably the best team until Sevilla came to life in the closing stages and shots started to rain down on the visiting goal.
The Whites had only 36.9 percent possession, but as a counterattacking force they looked impressive at times. Without being remotely old, this was at least effective.
– Real Madrid CF (@realmadrid) December 5, 2020
Vinicius prepares ‘Bono’ for the great autumn
Vinicius, who played three key passes and was involved in more duels (20) than any other Madrid player, could owe an apology to Bounou, the goalkeeper who shares a nickname with the U2 leader, because the Madrid forward really should have finished the opportunity himself. .
Bounou seemed to be on edge after an early error that nearly led to Benzema scoring, and Vinicius’s feather touch perhaps made what should have been a simple save by Mendy more difficult; it could be said that the ball moved in a mysterious way.
Low pass mark for Casemiro
Casemiro’s passing accuracy in the first half was a lousy 61.9 percent, and he gained possession only five times compared to he conceded 14 times during the 90 minutes.
His passing figure rose slightly to 67.5 percent at full time, but it was a disappointing individual display as he used his luck to avoid a yellow card that would have kept him out of next week’s derby with Atlético.
Opta key facts
– Madrid have kept a clean sheet in consecutive LaLiga away games against Sevilla (2 wins) for the second time in the history of the competition.
– Bounou is the only goalkeeper to have scored an own goal in LaLiga this season and the first Sevilla goalkeeper to score an own goal in the 21st century competition.
– Madrid have not lost any of their 25 LaLiga meetings with left-back Mendy in the starting XI since last season (18 wins and 7 draws), compared to their six losses in 24 league games without him.
– Zidane has won eight games in all competitions against Sevilla (D1 L2), more than against any other rival.
– Sevilla have lost consecutive games without scoring in all competitions for the first time with Julen Lopetegui.
– None of the last 31 LaLiga meetings between Sevilla and Madrid have ended in a draw, since May 2-2, 2005.
– Sevilla tried just three shots in the first 45 minutes, their lowest record in a first half of a home game this season in all competitions.
Sevilla head to Rennes in the final round of the Champions League group stage matches on Tuesday and are already assured of a round of 16 place.
Madrid face a more meaningful home game against Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday, when they may need to win to reach the knockout stage.