Atletico Madrid 0-0 Sevilla: Honors even at the Vicente Calderon in scrappy encounter

Both sides struggled in the final third in this heated encounter between two teams with Champions League qualification aspirations.
The spoils were shared this evening as Atletico Madrid and Sevilla fought out a fiery 0-0 draw in their Liga clash at the Vicente Calderon.

An ill-tempered first half that saw the referee produce seven yellow cards failed to provide the standard of play many expected, with neither team forcing the opposition keeper into making any notable saves.

The best chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to Atletico's Jose Antonio Reyes, but he shot disappointingly wide when in space 12 yards out. Atletico dominated proceedings throughout the half, but failed to turn both possession and a number of promising free-kicks into any clear-cut chances.

The second half started brightly, with Sevilla looking the more dangerous of the two sides. Atletico had goalkeeper Thibaut Courtouis to thank for keeping the team level, after the Belgian youngster, on loan from Chelsea, did brilliantly to keep out first Jesus Navas and then Manu del Moral.  

Navas, who looked to be Sevilla's main outlet at this point, then raced down the right side but saw his crisp pull back fly agonizingly behind the onrushing Frederic Kanoute in the Atletico penalty area.

The home side looked to regain a grip on the game in the center of the pitch by bringing on Gabi for Tiago, and this change nearly paid dividends as Radamel Falcao burst through and struck a decent effort that only stayed out because of a fine save from Javi Varas.

Sevilla introduced Alvaro Negredo on 75 minutes as the club sensed the win was there for the taking. Negredo's very inclusion in the first team squad came as a surprise to many, after injury had appeared to rule him out of the game, but the Spain international struggled to make an impact.

With both teams aiming for Champions League qualification this season a draw will have suited neither side, but, based on the balance of play, a draw was a fair result. Both managers will know that their sides are capable of better than what they saw today, and following this draw will no doubt be tempted to make changes before their next outings.