Real Madrid battle past Sevilla as mercurial Luka Modric scores late winner

Real Madrid Luka Modric Sevilla Sergio Ramos LaLiga

As expected, the hosts had the better of the territory from the off, but it was their opponents who mustered the first chance of the evening as Isaac Romero picked out Youssef En-Nesyri with an inch-perfect cross from the left which the striker blazed horribly wide with just Andriy Lunin to beat.

It looked as if he would quickly be made to pay for that miss when a swift attack by Los Blancos led to Lucas Vazquez producing an assured finish. However, following lengthy deliberations in the VAR booth, referee Isidro Díaz de Mera Escuderos correctly disallowed the goal after Nacho had caught En-Nesyri’s left ankle in the build-up.

Sevilla’s well-organised defence – marshalled by the familiar face of imperious 37-year-old Ramos – was restricting space for the likes of Vinícius Júnior and Rodrygo to exploit, meaning that visiting stopper Orjan Nyland did not have to make a difficult save prior to tipping over Federico Valverde’s long-range thunderbolt in first-half stoppage time.

Real Madrid Luka Modric Sevilla Sergio Ramos LaLiga

Brahim Diaz – arguably Real’s brightest spark in the opening period – then almost fashioned an assist for Valverde shortly after the break, but the Uruguayan’s scuffed shot crashed off Nyland’s left-hand post.

At the other end, Lucas Ocampos’ outside-of-the-foot cross found Romero, but he was denied superbly by Lunin, who stuck out a right leg to divert the effort behind.

Rodrygo was the next to despair after embarking on an electrifying dribble and curling narrowly wide before Nyland did superbly to paw away Vinícius’ strike.

With around 15 minutes of normal time remaining, Carlo Ancelotti introduced Luka Modrić for Nacho, and the attacking substitution soon proved a masterstroke as the 38-year-old brought down Loic Bade’s clearing header before curling in sumptuously from 20 yards, although Sevilla fiercely protested that the goal should have been chalked off as Antonio Rudiger, who had been in an offside position, affected Bade’s decision-making.

Real Madrid Luka Modric Sevilla Sergio Ramos LaLiga
Real are now 18 league matches unbeaten at their fortress (W15, D3) and head to Valencia next Saturday looking good in their quest for a 36th La Liga title, while Sevilla host Real Sociedad earlier that day looking to increase the six-point gap to the bottom three.