Real Madrid suffered their first LaLiga defeat of Julen Lopetegui's reign on Wednesday, as they were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by an Andre Silva-inspired Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Lopetegui's side were hoping to make the most of Barcelona's loss at Leganes earlier in the day, but they were taken apart by Pablo Machin's Sevilla and rarely looked like clawing their way back.
Madrid had no answer to the hosts in the first half, with a Silva brace and Wissam Ben Yedder volley leaving Los Blancos stunned at the interval.
Any chance of a comeback appeared to vanish early in the second half when a goal from Luka Modric – named the Best FIFA Men's Player on Monday – was correctly disallowed by VAR, and Sevilla were ultimately good value for the win.
3 - Real Madrid have lost by three goals margin at the first half of a LaLiga game for the first time since November 2003, also against Sevilla at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan (4-0). Pain. pic.twitter.com/P9OfvQOvxT — OptaJose (@OptaJose) September 26, 2018
Madrid struggled to cope with Sevilla's intensity and the hosts deservedly went ahead 17 minutes in – Pablo Sarabia releasing Jesus Navas after intercepting Marcelo's wayward pass and the winger teed up Silva for a simple finish.
Navas was vital to Sevilla's second four minutes later, devastating Madrid on the break before Thibaut Courtois parried his shot right to the lethal Silva.
Gareth Bale and Franco Vazquez were thwarted by the frame of the goal before the half-hour mark, but Ben Yedder was not denied when he slammed Vazquez's header into the top-left corner six minutes before the break.
Madrid stepped things up after half-time, but VAR prevented Modric from pulling one back and Sevilla almost capitalised, only for Bale to block Guilherme Arana's six-yard effort.
Bale was kept out by a fine save from Tomas Vaclik when one-on-one just after the hour mark, and Modric was withdrawn as Lopetegui looked to avoid further damage ahead of El Derbi.
What it means: Madrid dented before the derby
All of a sudden, Madrid look entirely beatable, and Atletico Madrid are not a side known to have mercy. Saturday's derby is even more tantalising for this defeat, with Sevilla showing Lopetegui's side have plenty of weaknesses to exploit. Diego Simeone and Atletico will surely be licking their lips at the prospect of really putting the pressure on their rivals at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Vazquez oozes class
He may not have found the net, but Vazquez had no equal on the pitch with respect to his craft and captivating nonchalance. Time and time again, the Argentina international sliced through Madrid's lines, while he also calmed Sevilla with his composure on the ball and got an assist for Ben Yedder's goal.
Karim Benzema has enjoyed a decent start to the season, but at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan he was utterly anonymous. Although Bale missed some good chances, at least he could pinpoint some valuable contributions. Benzema, on the other hand, was rightly hooked after an hour.
Key Opta facts:
- Madrid have lost more LaLiga away games against Sevilla than versus any other side in the 21st century (11).
- Machin is the only head coach to have won twice against Madrid in LaLiga since the start of last season (two wins).
- Sevilla have beaten Madrid in four straight home league games for the first time since January 1958 (five).
- Benzema has played more LaLiga away games without scoring against Sevilla than versus any other side (eight). The Frenchman has failed to score with any of his 15 league shots at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan (five on target).
Madrid will hope to get back to winning ways against Atletico, while Sevilla travel to Eibar in the hunt for a fourth straight victory.