Rayo Vallecano 1-2 Sevilla
Sevilla finally ended a run stretching back to the 19th of December without a win in La Liga, a streak running five games. It came against a frustrated Rayo Vallecano, who could not break down the Andalusian wall in front of them, despite the cracks appearing.
The first half saw both sides find joy with the ball. Youssef En-Nesyri opened the scoring with an excellent finish, latching onto a ball deflected into his path by Aridane. Isaac Romero had rounded Stole Dimitrievski previously, but couldn’t get a shot off, whereas the Moroccan made no mistake. Dimitrievski would thwart him after a ball to the far post, but the few breaks Sevilla put together Rayo struggled to deal with.
Rayo were doing damage to Sevilla themselves though, with Ivan Balliu streaming down the right, and Isi Palazon proving a headache inside. It was from the the left that the goal came though, finding Isi inside the box, whose finish looped into the top corner beyond Orjan Nyland.
Just on the stroke of half-time though, Isaac’s excellent link play gave En-Nesyri the chance to finish first-time, and he made no mistake to leave Sevilla in control going into the second half.
Rayo had their best spell just after the half though coming closest to through a free Pep Chavarria header just six yards out, found by Balliu. Moments later, Isi danced between three Sevilla defenders but couldn’tn conjure a finish past Nyland at the near post. Just when it seemed that Vallecas would will the ball into the net, Quique Sanchez Flores’ introduction of youngster Diego Hormigo and Oliver Torres broke the game up in Sevilla’s favour, giving Los Nervionenses an outlet on the right.
With Ocampos freed further forward from his wingback role, alongside En-Nesyri, the Argentine would have the best chance from there on, hitting the post from a one-on-one. The home side huffed and puffed, but could no longer find gaps to exploit in the final third, reduced to desperate long shots in the final moments. Of course for Ocampos, this game will be remembered as the match where he was poked in the bum by a fan.
Sevilla move up to 15th, three clear of the drop zone, and just four behind their hosts for the evening. It was just their fourth win of the season excluding the Copa del Rey, but it will ease the pressure a little. Meanwhile Rayo will be thankful that Cadiz (7 points back) and Granada (12 points back) are still some distance back, as they have just one league win in three-and-a-half months.