Sid Lowe’s Notes from Spain: Sevilla fall short again and doubts over Sampaoli emerge

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Hopes for Sevilla have been excessive previous to their Champions League exit, however now doubts about coach Jorge Sampaoli have begun to creep in.

We should always have scored 4 or 5, put them out of sight”. Sevilla knew that they’d made a large number of it, even after the primary leg. By the tip of the second, they knew simply how a lot harm had been achieved. The prospect to make historical past had gone. For the third time, they fell on the similar stage of the Champions League competitors – and, once more, it was towards an opponent that they have been favourites to beat. An opponent they’d dominated on the Pizjuán. “Spanish treble,” ran the proud headline on the entrance of 1 sports activities day by day, however they knew that it might, and possibly ought to, have been 4.

Unhealthy luck, dangerous ending and really dangerous penalties have been blamed. Sevilla had two saved two over the 2 legs: Jovetic on the Pizjuán and N’Zonzi on the Sort Energy, a weak effort simply stopped. “That was the important thing,” Sampaoli stated, “the boys who ought to have taken it weren’t on the pitch.” However who have been they?

Questions have been requested. Jorge Sampaoli has been vastly fashionable this season, making Sevilla one of the vital thrilling groups in Spain, however doubts emerged now. About their bodily situation, their current drop in kind, the way in which that they have been pushed out of the sport. And, then there was this: how can or not it’s that they don’t have a penalty taker? How can or not it’s that 4 completely different gamers have taken their final 4 penalties … and all 4 of them have missed? How can or not it’s that six males have missed penalties this season?

Samir Nasri (third left) marches off after being proven the crimson card.

Then there was Sami Nasri, after all. Despatched off, fingers pointed his means. Right here was a glimpse of the ‘different’ Nasri, the one they hadn’t seen this season. He had dipped during the last month however his begin to the season had been sensational.

Up till Christmas, he performed and made others play, permitting the staff to “breathe” in Sampaoli’s phrases. He had set a contest report for accomplished passes in Zagreb and his restoration for this recreation was thought of key: he had been not noted these days to get him prepared for this. He shall be decisive, Sampaoli had stated. He hadn’t imagined that it might be like this.

Diego Simeone

Diego Simeone patrols the touchline throughout Atletico Madrid’s Zero-Zero draw with Bayer Leverkusen.

4 years in a row now Atlético Madrid have made it into the quarter-final of the Champions League. Which is spectacular anyway, and can be for any staff, however much more so whenever you assume the place they got here from; the actual fact that it appears regular now makes it all of the extra outstanding. Okay, so the Diego Simeone has modified Atletico for ever line has been heard time and again, however … properly, Diego Simeone has hanged Atletico for ever.

There is only one factor that he hasn’t but been in a position to change, not solely.

Below Simeone, they’ve gained the Copa del Rey, beating Actual Madrid within the remaining on the Santiago Bernabéu – their first win over their metropolis rivals in fourteen years. They did the unimaginable and gained the Spanish league title, the primary staff to do this outdoors of Madrid and Barcelona for a decade, clinching the trophy towards Barcelona on the Camp Nou. They’ve gained as many leagues within the final eight years as Madrid. And naturally, they reached the European Cup remaining for the primary time in virtually half a century and solely the second time ever. After which, two years later, they reached one other one.

Then they misplaced them each, to Actual Madrid. And cruelly. The jinx hadn’t been damaged solely. Over the past three years just one staff has been in a position to knock them out of the Champions League: Actual Madrid. So now, right here they’re once more, having defeated Bayer Leverkusen Four-2 on mixture. The query is: do they desperately need Actual Madrid, an opportunity of revenge, or do they desperately not need Actual Madrid?

“No”, Tayfun stated. He had been requested a easy query – had he ever seen something just like the triple save that Jan Oblak had produced – and he gave a fair easier reply. That was the second of a second leg which, whereas fairly entertaining, was a non-event on the Calderón. Atlético went via Four-2 on mixture, all of them scored three weeks earlier. There have been no objectives within the return. There wasn’t even the prospect to see Fernando Torres – and which may show extra important than it first seems.

Torres was again within the squad for the primary time since struggling that scary head harm at Riazor, when he was unconscious for 2 minutes and rushed to hospital, the place team-mates dashed to his facet and lots of feared the worst. He went out to heat up early within the second half of a recreation that mattered little, with qualification secured, a recreation that had been arrange as being all about his return. It’s onerous to do justice to simply how a lot of an idol he’s on the Calderón.

When he set off to heat up firstly of the second half, there was an enormous cheer. When he headed again to the bench on the finish of the sport, there was a type of shocked silence, disappointment. It completed Zero-Zero, Atletico have been by no means in peril, they didn’t use all their subs, and but nonetheless Simeone didn’t put him on. He’s entitled to make the modifications he desires after all, however nonetheless it jarred. Unusually unsentimental. Or, some requested, was it sentimental – simply not in the way in which they imagined? Was there one thing behind it? Speculative? Maybe, however some have been genuinely upset. This one will run, that’s for positive. “We’d have appreciated to have seen Torres on,” Griezmann stated, talking for nearly everybody.

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