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Sevilla FC 1-1 Atlético Madrid: Spoils shared

This top-three battle ended in a stalemate.

Sevilla FC v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Sevilla and Atlético Madrid played out an intense, entertaining 1-1 draw at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán on Sunday afternoon, as Antoine Griezmann’s free kick — his eighth goal all-time against the Andalusians — cancelled out Wissam Ben Yedder’s opening salvo.

The first 10 minutes had a nice rhythm despite the lack of chances. Both teams played at a quick pace but Sevilla grabbed a stronger foothold with sustained possession — Rodri and Stefan Savić had to make important interventions to prevent the hosts from testing Jan Oblak. Savić escaped giving away a penalty after he clattered Ándre Silva in the 12th minute as Mateu Lahoz saw nothing wrong with the challenge.

Sevilla attacked into the afternoon sun but still could not bother Oblak, and Atlético came close through a 27th minute sizzler off Antoine Griezmann’s left boot. Tomáš Vaclík was up to the task though and made save diving to his left.

André Silva came inches away from scoring the first goal when he drifted into open space and lashed a long-range effort off the post with Oblak beaten. Just one minute later, Wissam Ben Yedder would indeed give the hosts a deserved lead when he took up a pass that Rodri really should have cleared, turned and fired his left-footed shot past Oblak. And it had been coming as Atlético had just one shot themselves and could not keep the ball away from the penalty area — in particular struggling to keep up with fullbacks Sergio Escudero and Jesús Navas.

But in the 45th minute, Griezmann stepped up for a free kick and equalized with his trusty left foot. He left Vaclík motionless as the ball, straight as an arrow, settled into the goal. Somehow, Atlético entered the dressing room on level terms despite being clearly second-best.

The second half began with four yellow cards — two for each team — in less than 10 minutes, including one for left back Saúl, who will miss next weekend’s match against Levante. There also remained a good flow and pace to the match as both sides fought to go ahead. For their part, Atlético tightened up defensively and continued to create danger from set pieces as Saúl saw Vaclík save off the line his header from a 65th minute corner.

On 69 minutes, Ben Yedder nearly scored a carbon copy of his first goal, but this time the effort rolled wide. Ten minutes later, Simeone made another move to the bench following Vitolo’s entry as he again brought on canterano Javi Montero to play left back and push Saúl into midfield. In the 82nd minute, Griezmann bared down on goal with ex-Sevilla man Vitolo, but instead of teeing up the winger he went for goal himself and Vaclík got down to make a good save.

Two minutes later it was Oblak’s turn to make a big save as Joris Gnagnon took the ball off Rodri and forced the Slovene into a diving stop in which he could only slap the ball away to his right. Thomas Partey’s 89th minute effort from roughly 30 yards required another save out of Sevilla’s Czech keeper, but Atlético could not convert the ensuing corner.

In the end, the result was fine and fair in a vacuum. But in the context of Atlético’s season at large, a win really would have done the team some as Barcelona could extend their lead atop LaLiga to five points by Sunday’s end.

SEV XI: Vaclík; Sergi Gómez, Carriço, Gnagnon (Amadou 89’); Navas, Banega, Escudero, Roque Mesa, Sarabia (Promes 79’); Ben Yedder (Gil 90’+2), André Silva.

Goals: Ben Yedder 37’

ATM XI: Oblak; Juanfran, Savić, Godín, Saúl; Rodri, Thomas P, Koke, Lemar (Vitolo 60’); Griezmann, Correa (Montero 78’).

Goals: Griezmann 45’