Red cards, a rocket and a ruckus: Seville derby ends in glorious chaos | La Liga

“Well, this is a derby,” Real Betis’s Edgar González was saying, but it was hard not to be drawn to the pitch behind him where opponent Nemanja Gudelj was pacing about shaking his head. At the final whistle, the Sevilla defender had covered his face with his hands and just stood doubled over, elbows on knees. Ivan Rakitic approached and they went through it once more, although it was a wonder they could hear anything. Next was Jesús Navas, the pair picking over the moment a vital victory slipped away. Now, waiting near the touchline for his turn to talk, they were going to ask Gudelj to relive it all over again on camera. He bit his lip, smiled and said: “I’m a bit angry with myself. I should have hit it better.”

Better?! The 138th Seville derby had finished 1-1, and Gudelj, son of a footballer and a basketball player, brother of a footballer and a tennis player, had scored the equaliser that earned Sevilla a precious point which pulled them out of the relegation zone. He had done so with an outrageous shot from somewhere over the other side of the Triana Bridge. “Buenisimo,” said the man he beat. It was only his second goal for Sevilla – his first had been an equally absurd effort from the same place that secured victory in Mallorca just three weeks earlier – and it could not have been hit better, the scoreboard behind the net flashing up golazos with impeccable and accidental timing as it tore 32 yards through the air.

Gudelj, though, was not really focused on that any more, but on what had come next. The clock had shown 80.58 when the ball raced past Claudio Bravo and into the net. It had shown 89.11 when he had controlled it on his chest and sent a ludicrous 20-yard volley crashing against the bar, the TV director deciding to turn away and focus on something else as it looped straight up into the sky and almost dropped down over the line. And it had shown 94.52 (of 95.04) when he had hit a first-time effort, bending and flying towards the top of the net from just beyond the penalty spot, only for Bravo to throw up a hand for a superb save.

In less than a quarter of an hour Gudelj could have scored three times as many as in his previous 127 games for the club put together. He could have scored the most ridiculously brilliant hat-trick ever – now there’s a debate for you: Rivaldo, surely? – from a combined distance not far off 90 yards. In a derby. Maybe the most passionate on earth. As a centre-back. A derby that his team desperately needed to win, too. But the closer he got to the goal, the further his shot got from being one and now he was kicking himself. “I needed to hit more to one side, I made it a bit too easy for Bravo,” he said, which was harsh on both of them.

Defeat probably would have been, too. “It would have been a pity to have conceded then,” Bravo said afterwards. This was one of those derbies where no one was satisfied, but actually they sort of all were, exhausted and, like the fan whose traffic light tower gave way on him, barely able to walk any more but basically unscathed. A game, Joan Jordán said, “where so much happened”: “A mad, mad, mad derby” as the headline in Diario de Sevilla had it. One that started with the first foul after 13 seconds and the second after 49, retaliation in early, and ran well beyond 100 minutes, that will keep running all week and beyond. A game marked by four red cards, 10 yellow cards, and a blue tracksuit, Jorge Sampaoli bouncing about on the touchline chewing anxiously on the draw strings of his hoodie. And ultimately decided by one stupid goal and one sensational one. That and a guy in the VAR room back in Las Rozas, 536km away.

Well, him and the anxiety that Manuel Pellegrini had warned them about. “They can’t let themselves get carried away by that,” Betis’s coach had said before, but they did; “the hatchet is never buried in a derby,” he said after. Unless it’s in someone’s leg.

Gonzalo Montiel hacks down Álex Moreno
Gonzalo Montiel hacks down Álex Moreno. Photograph: José Manuel Vidal/EPA

Betis’s fans had hoped to slip in the knife, anyway. They had not had a lead like this over Sevilla for two decades but things were shifting. Holders of the Copa del Rey, having knocked out Sevilla en route in a game that had initially been abandoned after a flag pole hit Jordán – something Betis’s fans reminded them of with a pre-match banner covering an entire end and depicting Jordán, the stick, and Pinocchio – Betis were in a Champions League place at the start of the evening, third within reach. Sevilla, by contrast, were clinging on to the league itself, down in the bottom three. Julen Lopetegui had been sacked, but things had not improved: Sevilla had won once under Sampaoli and just didn’t look very good, like a relegation battle might actually be a reality. No one would have enjoyed that more than their neighbours.

Soon, things looked even worse for Sevilla. Navas was 49 seconds into a record 22nd derby in primera when he sent the ball flying past the goalkeeper’s hand, off the post and into the net. It was his own net and it was that kind of game. He had come on as a first-half sub after Gonzalo Montiel was handed a red card for a wild, flying tackle, studs connecting with Álex Moreno’s knee. At first the referee, Sánchez Martínez, had only given a yellow, but the replays saw that upgraded, Montiel losing his mind and having to be dragged off the pitch by teammates. Betis, who had already had chances for Aitor Ruibal, Moreno and Nabil Fekir, were a goal and a man up.

It didn’t last, the scene repeated twice more. That was 38 minutes in. On 45, Fekir got a yellow that was turned into a red for an arm in the face of Papu Gómez – who, despite being an opponent, seemed to suggest afterwards that he felt the card was excessive punishment, claiming that the game “is contact and it’s losing its essence”. Then Borja Iglesias put his studs down Jordán’s ankle and was handed a yellow card that was also turned into a red on 48 minutes (which was weird, because he had his best chance with a one-on-one on 55 – explained by the 10 minutes of time added at the end of the first half before the clock started against on 45 in the second.) A fourth red was later handed to Betis’s goalkeeper coach Toni Doblas.

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La Liga results


Girona 2-1 Athletic Club, Getafe 0-0 Cádiz, Valladolid 2-1 Elche, Celta Vigo 1-2 Osasuna, Barcelona 2-0 Almería, Atlético Madrid 1-1 Espanyol, Real Sociedad 1-1 Valencia, Villarreal 0-2 Mallorca, Real Betis 1-1 Sevilla

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From a goal and a man up, Betis now faced 40 minutes or so a man down, just eight outfield players on the pitch, all plans turned on their head. All post-match judgements too. There could be no analysis without the cards, each side clinging to the bit that suited them and the discourse of disappointment, a little more happy than they would admit. “We deserved to win,” Sampaoli said. “We feel like it’s two points lost,” Pellegrini replied.

“We spent the whole of the second half in their goal,” Sampaoli insisted. But González was immense – he made four vital interceptions – Jordán complained that his Sevilla team had attacked “badly” and Pellegrini said Betis mostly kept them at a distance. Just not quite enough distance to stop Gudelj smashing in a sensational equaliser. “I practice them from there in training and when I hit it, I felt it was going in,” he said. “We all went mad of course, celebrating like a family.”

Nabil Fekir sees red
Nabil Fekir sees red. Photograph: José Manuel Vidal/EPA

A frantic finish was set up but, when he got another chance with the very last attack only to see the ball pushed away, Gudelj slipped to his knees, unable to forget about it. For a moment it looked like he was sobbing. The anger was still there at full time, and asked afterwards if this point was any use to them, Jordán replied with a single word: “No.”

Yet this draw took Sevilla out of the relegation zone, a little light brought back in, one of those moments they could all hang on to, the kind of experience that sometimes forges teams. Up at the top of the north stand, meanwhile, 400 of the 10,000 fans who requested tickets were going wild. Below them, so was sporting director Monchi, beating at his chest and blowing kisses, getting into another confrontation when he finally made way, Sergio Canales among those having a few choice words. Down in the tunnel, the referee’s report said, there was an “altercation”: when he had come out to see what was going on, though, they all scarpered like school kids the moment teacher turns up. “We weren’t able to identify any of them,” he wrote.

“When you celebrate a draw, there’s nothing more to say,” Betis midfielder Guido Rodríguez claimed, but there’s always something to say. “Well, this is a derby,” said González as Gudelj paced about behind him.

Joy for Rico Lewis as Manchester City recover to see off Sevilla | Champions League

Rico Lewis should long remember a first ever Manchester City start because the boy from Bury fired in a memorable equaliser to become at 17 years old and 346 days the second-youngest Englishman to score in the Champions League.

Lewis, on the books at the club since he was eight, followed this with a hand-over-mouth celebration that suggested shock at registering. The goal teemed with intent, rifled in from close range, and was precisely what City needed on an evening when they struggled to burn along on all cylinders as they often do.

It came on 52 minutes. Their second arrived 17 from the end when Julián Álvarez, deputising for the injured Erling Haaland, ran onto Kevin De Bruyne’s superb through ball and finished before, a little later, the Argentinean teed up Riyad Mahrez for the third.

City had won Group G anyway but this result further casts them as who to avoid in Monday’s last-16 draw, particularly as they stuttered until the closing phase.

In driving rain Cole Palmer struck a sighter that sailed over Yassine Bounou’s bar, the youngster played in by Jack Grealish after the visiting goalkeeper fluffed a clearance straight to him.

City had Lewis at right-back in what was his full debut. He dropped smoothly into the Guardiola way, tucking inside to help flood the midfield against an opponent third-bottom in La Liga who had enjoyed victory three times all term.

Guardiola, too, was instantly into his familiar in-game, Mr Intense routine from his near-permanent technical area vantage point, barking orders over to Sergio Gómez regarding how the left-back should, too, rotate in-field.

City, muted throughout the half, finally threatened once more when Phil Foden’s curving free-kick clattered off Rúben Dias’s frame and skidded wide. A solitary Álvarez flick was the centre-forward’s sole act as his teammates struggled to create for Haaland’s stand-in: when City upped gear they illustrated how they might. Foden collected from Stefan Ortega inside his half, pirouetted, and those in blue raced forward in a move that ended with Grealish finding Foden again though his effort was blocked.

Now, Jorge Sampaoli’s men broke quickly and suddenly Rafa Mir was sliding a cross-shot at Ortega from the right that required the German’s right hand to palm out. Mir, a little later, spurned a near-range header in what was a similar profligate manner to how Lewis had earlier sprayed wide: each should have tested the opposing keeper.

Ilkay Gündogan’s radar was calibrated more precisely when shooting following a one-two with Foden but a deflection pinged the ball out for a corner from which Mahrez should have tested the shaky Bounou rather than volleying high. These misses were soon dearly rued as City conceded amateurishly: Isco floated in a corner from the right and Gómez allowed Mir a free header and he steered past Ortega into the latter’s top left corner.

Julián Álvarez puts City in front.
Julián Álvarez puts City in front. Photograph: MB Media/Getty Images

Sevilla, with zero to lose, were operating a high-pressing 3-4-3 that, combined with City’s lack of fizz, had them squarely in the contest. In a bid to try and inject energy into his team Guardiola scolded Dias while waving arms at the centre-back. The fruits of this were a Mahrez dance along the right and a blocked-off Grealish effort. But lacking, still, was an real menace plus the serial pulling apart of the Spaniards that is City’s calling card when in optimum rhythm.

As the interval neared, Guardiola surely prepared choice words to kickstart his men because, while this was a dead rubber, the Catalan hates to lose.

What he definitely did do was action a rejig: taking off Grealish for Rodri, his No 1 midfield fulcrum, with Foden moving wide and Gündogan shuffling up one central position to occupy the latter’s previous berth.

Two attempts – via Foden and Gómez – marked some early second half promise and, following a Palmer mis-control, City were level courtesy of Lewis’s strike.

Álvarez, pouncing on a loose ball near the D, slipped him in and from a testing angle on the right he smashed past Bounou.

Cue sheer and understandable delight from Lewis, his teammates, Guardiola and the home faithful and, at last, City were a whir of blue, pouring through Sevilla, as when Mahrez’s buccaneering run threatened their second.

Guardiola sent for more cavalry: Bernardo Silva’s trickery superseding Gündogan’s more simpler offering but at the sight of a rudimentary Foden punt towards Álvarez the manager’s disbelief had him blowing out cheeks.

His side’s firmer control was more pleasing, the ball being tapped about with ease as a way to dismantle Sevilla was sought. In this, Guardiola added the imperious Kevin De Bruyne plus Joshua Wilson-Esbrand, for the 19-year-old’s second senior appearance.

De Bruyne’s impact was instantaneous, creating for Álvarez, while Wilson-Esbrand’s involvement featured a Guardiola rollicking.

City roll on: no-one will wish to face them.

Champions League roundup: Benfica eliminate Juventus as PSG run riot | Champions League

Benfica’s Rafa Silva scored twice as the Portuguese side defeated Juventus 4-3 in a thriller at the Estádio da Luz to seal a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League and end the Italian club’s chances in this year’s competition.

Benfica have 11 points from five games, the same as the Group H leaders Paris Saint-Germain, who defeated Maccabi Haifa 7-2 in an equally stunning game at the Parc des Princes. Juve’s three points, meanwhile, leaves them to focus on winning a place in the Europa League, something they can secure on the final matchday when they host PSG.

Benfica are now unbeaten in 20 games in all competitions this season and it was easy to see why on Tuesday night. They were inventive with the ball and might have been out of sight at half-time before a late Juve rally meant a nervous finish. As it was, it is the first time in the Italian giant’s history they have conceded three first-half goals in the Champions League, and the first time since 2013-14 they have failed to get out of their group.

The teenager Antonio Silva scored his first Benfica goal to give the home side the lead after 17 minutes before Juventus drew level when Moise Kean bundled the ball home four minutes later. Benfica were back in front thanks to a controversial penalty that was converted by João Mario before Rafa Silva appeared to make the points safe with two sublime finishes either side of the break.

The visitors pulled a goal back late on through Arkadiusz Milik after he was set up by the young English winger Samuel Iling, and the latter was key in creating a chance for Weston McKennie to score Juve’s third. That led to a tense finish on a night when Benfica looked as though they would humiliate their visitors but had to hold on as Rafa Silva missed out on a hat-trick by hitting the post.

“It’s really a pity and difficult to find the words,” the Juventus midfielder Manuel Locatelli said.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé both scored twice, with Neymar also on target, as the French club’s fearsome attack tore apart Maccabi Haifa in a 7-2 win to send them into the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi celebrates scoring in the thrashing of Maccabi Haifa
Lionel Messi celebrates scoring in the thrashing of Maccabi Haifa Photograph: Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

The irrepressible trio were simply too much for Maccabi to handle although the Israeli side showed plenty of spirit in the Group H clash, with Abdoulaye Seck scoring twice. PSG’s romp means with one game remaining against Juventus they top the standings on goal difference from Benfica.

Despite their heavy defeat, Maccabi remain level on three points with Juve and will go into their last game at home against Benfica still hopeful of sealing a Europa League spot.

Christophe Galtier’s side took a while to find their attacking rhythm but once they clicked they were devastating as they threatened to surpass their 7-1 rout of Celtic in 2017.

“The 4-3-3 system meant the front three could be a little higher up the pitch and they had a little more freedom in their movements thanks to the work of the midfield,” Galtier said. “It’s a privilege to have those players and to see them play like that, for each other.”

Messi started things off in the 19th minute with a sumptuous opening goal scored with the outside of his left foot after being played in by Mbappé on the left side of the area. Mbappé’s opener was just as silky, the French forward bending a right-footer in the 32nd minute past goalkeeper Joshua Cohen who could not be faulted for any of PSG’s goals.

It began to turn ugly for Maccabi three minutes later when Mbappé and Messi combined to play in Neymar and the Brazilian’s shot went in on off the post. PSG switched off defensively to allow an unmarked Seck to head in from Omer Atzili’s free-kick but Messi then swapped passes with Neymar before dropping his shoulder and belting a left-footed shot low into the corner to make it 4-1 at half-time.

It took Messi’s Champions League total to 129, 12 behind the record of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Maccabi actually controlled the opening 10 minutes of the second half and when PSG made a hash of clearing a corner, Seck looped a header over Gianluigi Donnarumma and into the net. The visiting fans celebrated joyously but PSG then moved through the gears to run riot.

In the 64th minute Mbappé was picked out by a diagonal pass from Achraf Hakimi and he took a deft touch before picking out the far corner. As Maccabi finally lost heart Neymar’s dribble and low cross ended with Sean Goldberg netting an own goal.

Messi, who was denied a record ninth Champions League hat-trick by the crossbar, then set up Carlos Soler to wrap up the scoring with a low shot.

“We caught Paris on a good day. The smallest slip in concentration against players like that and they can score or have a big chance,” Maccabi defender Dylan Batubinsika said.”

RB Leipzig took a big step towards the Champions League knockout stage with a 3-2 home win against the holders Real Madrid.

With Real having already qualified for the last 16 their manager, Carlo Ancelotti, rested several regular starters and his side were dominated early on by a young Leipzig team. The hosts took the lead on 13 minutes with Josko Gvardiol scoring on the rebound from a Thibaut Courtois save after a bullet header by André Silva.

With the European champions still recovering from that blow, Leipzig extended their advantage five minutes later when David Raum tried to pass into the box but the ball deflected off a defender into the path of Christopher Nkunku who was quick to react and rifled the ball in off the crossbar.

Leipzig had two more great chances but Courtois saved Amadou Haidara’s strike from the edge of the box and Nkuku put a close-range shot wide after beating the onrushing Real goalkeeper to the ball but ending up with a tight angle trying to find the empty net.

“I think we came out very distracted in the beginning of the game and were caught sleeping against a team that is very aggressive,” Courtois said.

Leipzig are second in Group F on nine points, one behind the leaders Real and three ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk, who they face in their final group game next week in need of a draw to guarantee a top-two spot.

Milan revived their hopes of reaching the last 16 with a 4-0 win at Dinamo Zagreb. Back-to-back defeats by Chelsea in their two previous matches had left the Serie A champions with plenty to do to qualify for the knockout stages, but Matteo Gabbia’s first-half header set them on their way to a crucial victory in Croatia.

Rafael Leão’s solo run and finish early in the second half put the game beyond the home side before Olivier Giroud made sure of the three points with a penalty just before the hour mark. A late own goal put the seal on the second win of Milan’s European campaign and one that moves them up to second place in Group E on seven points. If they avoid defeat next week against Salzburg they will reach the last 16.

“I think it is clear that our growth continues with qualification,” the Milan head coach, Stefano Pioli, said.

Sevilla kept alive their slim hopes of reaching the last 16 after second-half goals from Youssef En-Nesyri, Isco and Gonzalo Montiel secured a convincing 3-0 home win against 10-man FC Copenhagen in Group G.

Champions League: Sevilla sack Lopetegui after Bellingham’s brilliance | Champions League

Borussia Dortmund struck three times in the first half to beat their hosts Sevilla 4-1 in Champions League Group G on Wednesday and stay firmly on course for the last 16. Sevilla’s manager, Julen Lopetegui, was later sacked with reports in Spain saying the Argentinian Jorge Sampaoli could be his replacement.

Raphaël Guerreiro put the German side in front with a powerful strike before the 19-year-old Jude Bellingham angled a shot into the far corner after a superb run into the box, to become the youngest captain to score in a Champions League match. The England international is also the first teenage midfielder to score in three consecutive Champions League games.

Karim Adeyemi made it 3-0 on the rebound two minutes from half-time although Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri cut the deficit six minutes after the restart before Julian Brandt’s glancing header made sure of the points 15 minutes from time.

As Dortmund players celebrated their win, Lopetegui left the pitch waving to fans who were chanting his name.

Dortmund, who host Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga on Saturday, are second in the group on six points, three behind the leaders Manchester City.

The defending champions, Real Madrid, were forced to ride their luck to extend their 100% start at the top of Group F with a 2-1 win against Shakhtar Donetsk at the Santiago Bernabéu.

The hosts looked poised to coast to victory after Rodrygo fired a long-range opener then Vinícius Junior doubled their advantage with less than half an hour on the clock. But Shakhtar replied through a thunderous volley from Oleksandr Zubkov before the break and the visitors continued to threaten to snatch an equaliser on the counter-attack.

Lionel Messi has Benfica players backing off.
Lionel Messi has Benfica players backing off. He scored a brilliant goal but PSG drew 1-1 at Benfica Photograph: DeFodi Images/Getty Images

A brilliant strike from Lionel Messi was not enough for Paris Saint-Germain to preserve their perfect start in Group H as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Benfica. Messi curled a 22nd-minute opener past the home goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos but his effort was cancelled out by a 41st-minute own goal by Danilo Pereira which keeps the hosts level at the top of the group.

Two goals from Adrien Rabiot got Juventus up and running at the third time of asking as they swept to a 3-1 win against Maccabi Haifa in Turin.

Starting pointless after their first two games, Rabiot grabbed a 35th-minute opener before Dusan Vlahovic doubled Juve’s lead early in the second half. Dean David set up a nervy finish for the hosts when he reduced the deficit in the 75th minute but Rabiot’s second seven minutes from time wrapped up an overdue victory.

A second-half penalty from Noah Okafor proved enough for Salzburg to beat Dinamo Zagreb 1-0 and take over at the top of the Group E with five points from their first three games.