There were still thirteen minutes and three more games to go, but within Valdebebas it seemed that the whole season was reduced to this single decision, the fate of four teams in the hands of one man. The night after Barcelona and Atlético de Madrid drew 0-0, leaving Real Madrid in control of their own destiny, it was 1-1 between Zinedine Zidane’s team and Sevilla and there was a penalty at one end and a penalty at the other. Standing on the VAR screen, it was up to Juan Martínez Munuera to decide which one to give away.
When Eder Militao jumped to clear a Sevilla corner, the ball hit his outstretched arm. There had been shouts but the referee had not seen them and suddenly Madrid broke the field of play, opening a wide space before them. Karim Benzema circled Yassine Bono and was knocked down. Munuera, who was running behind, pointed to the spot and a great cheer of relief rose from the stands. It had been a difficult night for Madrid but it seemed that at the end of a season of survival they were going to find a way again, rising with a victory that would take them to the top.
However, the referee stopped everything, the title race was put on hold as he put a finger to his ear. Called to the VAR screen, he watched as the substitutes, staff and players increased the pressure, yelling and trying to convert him. Finally he stepped back, drew a square and pointed to the point in the Madrid area, shaking the hand that came first, not the foul that came later. Ivan Rakitic stepped forward and scored the goal that was planned to give Sevilla a great victory that would almost end Madrid’s title hopes and reawaken theirs.
Instead, a late turn saw Toni Kroos score a deflected draw at 93.43 and Casemiro doubled an agonizing shot past the post in the 96th minute to leave all teams where they were, just a week closer to the line, another series. clear obstacles. The table reads: Atlético 77, Barcelona 75, Madrid 75, Sevilla 71 and ultimately all four will feel like this was a weekend of missed opportunities. Madrid, above all, but Barcelona and Atlético as well and even Seville, who had impressed for so long here, were two minutes away from a victory that would have given them hope of being able to return to the race.
Taking possession and control, Sevilla also went ahead early with a wonderfully worked free kick, Suso fell short before Jesús Navas who cut in and crossed, Rakitic’s header dropped the ball at Fernando’s feet that cut Casemiro and scored the goal that scored the goal. He took them to rest deservedly in the lead and also in the League. Madrid needed a reaction and they did. Sevilla, so calm until then, felt the pressure, but kept playing. Madrid also played, this game is still capable of going both ways.
Even more so when Marco Asensio was sent and within a minute he had leveled it, the first time at the near post of a measured pass from Kroos. The play had started with Benzema winning the ball in the center circle. Madrid had twenty-five minutes to get another, to reach first place; They soon thought they had, Benzema brought down by Bono. But then the game-changing moment came and it could have changed everything, or maybe nothing. Finally, the referee left the screen, everyone waiting to see which way he would turn. He went to the right and as all around him people lost their minds, Rakitic kept his.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism