Liga - Real Madrid title challenge dealt blow as Sevilla claim comeback win

La Liga, Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan - Sevilla 2 (Bacca 19, 72) Real Madrid 1 (Ronaldo 14)

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Liga - Real Madrid title challenge dealt blow as Sevilla claim comeback win
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Sevilla's Sevilla's Carlos Bacca (C) celebrates between Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (L) and Luka Modric during their Spanish First Division soccer match at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville, March 26, 2014 (Reuters)

Real Madrid’s title challenge was dealt a shuddering blow as a Carlos Bacca-inspired Sevilla came from behind to claim a 2-1 win.

The result follows on from Sunday’s Clasico defeat and means Los Blancos have gone from first to third place in the space of four days, with wins for Atletico Madrid and Barcelona leaving Carlo Ancelotti’s men three points adrift of the pace-setters with just nine games to play.

Madrid started well and took the lead in somewhat fortunate circumstances, when Cristiano Ronaldo’s long range free-kick was deflected into the net by the arm of Bacca, wrong-footing keeper Beto.

However, Sevilla were back on level terms within four minutes, with Bacca redeeming himself. The Colombian latched on to Jose Antonio Reyes’ ball over the top, beating Diego Lopez to the ball to poke into the net.

Los Blancos began to impose themselves on the game as the half progressed and were unlucky not to regain the lead, when Ronaldo’s improved shot was cleared off the line by Nico Pareja.

However, it was Sevilla who struck the next blow, with Ivan Rakitic breaking at pace to release Bacca through on goal with an exceptional flicked pass, with the striker finishing underneath the advancing Lopez.

Real pressed hard for way back into the game as the clock wound down, but both Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale were wasteful as the capital club suffered their second defeat in a matter of days.

KEY EVENTS

12’ CHANCE – Fantastic chance for Benzema! The ball comes into the box with a number of Real Madrid players waiting for the cross, but the French striker heads the effort down into the turf and over the bar.

14’ GOAL – Los Blancos take the lead! Ronaldo's freekick from the edge of the box takes a huge deflection off Bacca, and sends Beto the wrong way.

18’ EQUALISER – Sevilla break out on the counter, with Bacca getting on the end of Reyes' chip over the top, beating Lopez to the ball to poke into the net.

25’ CLOSE – So close to a fantastic goal! Marin, Bacca and Reyes combine magnificently to split open the Real Madrid defence but Reyes skews his shot wide on the stretch. That would have been brilliant!

39’ SAVE – Wonderful save by Beto! Modric plays the ball out to Ronaldo, who takes a touch before smashing it towards the top corner. But somehow the Sevilla keeper dives to his right to make the save! Incredible.

44’ OFF THE LINE – Cleared off the line! Illarramendi plays a great scooped pass over the top for Ronaldo, who beats Beto to the ball. His effort hits the base of the post and dribbles along the goalline. Nobody is on hand to finish for Real Madrid and Pareja clears!

73’ GOAL – Huge goal in the title race! Rakitic comes forward on the counter attack and rolls the ball into Bacca, who finishes underneath the advancing Lopez.

74’ TIPPED ROUND THE POST – Almost an immediate reply by Real Madrid! Ronaldo lines up a shot from 25 yards, but Beto gets down well to turn the ball just past the post. The shot bounced just in front of the keeper as well!

KEY STATS

Having gone 31 games unbeaten in all competitions Real Madrid have now lost two successive games.

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more goals against Sevilla than any other side in La Liga.

Real Madrid have taken just five points from seven games against the rest of La Liga’s top five teams (Atletico, Barcelona, Athletic, Sevilla).

MAN OF THE MATCH

Carlos Bacca (Sevilla): A number of Sevilla players turned in exceptional performances, with Ivan Rakitic in particular providing the decisive spark in the second half. But it was Colombian striker Carlos Bacca who proved the difference between the two sides, showing his cutting edge when presented with chances. With Radamel Falcao fighting for fitness we could see Bacca at the World Cup.

TALKING POINT

Could this result prove pivotal in Real Madrid’s season? Going into Sunday’s Clasico Real Madrid were top of La Liga. But in the space of four days they’ve slipped to third place, with three points now between them and the pacesetters. Will this defeat to Sevilla be remembered as the night Real conceded the title race? The games are running out for them.

PLAYER RATINGS

Sevilla: Beto 7, Coke 7, Fazio 7, Pareja 7, Moreno 7, M’Bia 6, Iborra 6, Reyes 7, Rakitic 8, Marin 6, Bacca 9. Subs: Vitolo 6.

Real Madrid: Lopez 5, Carvajal 5, Varane 4, Pepe 5, Marcelo 5, Alonso 4, Modric 5, Illarramendi 5, Bale 4, Ronaldo 6, Benzema 5. Subs: Isco 5.

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