Sevilla ended Real Madrid’s unbeaten start to the La Liga season with a 2-1 victory on Sunday which underlined the Spanish title race will be a three-horse race.
The result leaves Barcelona, who beat Almeria 1-0 on Saturday, at the top with 18 points from six games, with Real and Sevilla sharing second place on 15 points. Real came to the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan with a perfect record from five league games, but missing leading scorer Cristiano Ronaldo, who has an ankle injury. His absence was keenly felt as they offered little in attack and were under pressure in defense from the outset as Sevilla created a string of first half chances. It was came as no surprise when Fernando Navarro crossed to the far post for the diminutive Jesus Navas to get in ahead of Marcelo and head past Iker Casillas on 33 minutes. Sevilla might have been further ahead at half-time as their Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano wasted several good opportunities, the best as he headed wide from an excellent position after a cross by Navas.
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Casillas was also in inspired form and made one breathtaking save just before the interval as he kept out Renato’s point-blank effort from a Diego Perotti cross. The second half began in similar fashion and Negredo set up Perotti for a certain score only for Casillas to charge across his line to save. Three minutes into the half and Sevilla were made to pay for their wasteful finishing as Pepe rose high to head home Guti’s free kick. Sevilla continued to carve out the better openings and scored a deserved 66th minute winner as a totally unmarked Renato headed home Adriano’s cross after a header had been cleared. Sevilla continued to look the better side but had their hearts in their mouths on the final whistle after Sergio Ramos fired into the sidenetting after being set up by Kaka. It is Sevilla’s best start to the Spanish season since 1942. In other action on Sunday, Nikola Zigic came off the bench to earn Valencia a 1-0 win at Racing Santander. Zigic had just come on when he intercepted a back-pass by Racing defender Pablo Pinillos before rounding Antonio Tono to score. Zigic came on for Spanish international striker David Villa, who limped off with a hamstring strain and looks doubtful for upcoming World Cup qualifiers next week.