Liga, Stadio La Rosaleda – Malaga 0 Sevilla 0 (Steven N’Zonzi sent off, 72)
Steven N’Zonzi saw red on his Liga debut for Sevilla, as Unai Emery’s side played out a goalless draw against Malaga in the 2015/16 season opener.
Unai Emery’s side enjoyed a successful season last year, winning the Europa League and finishing fifth in La Liga, but lost a number of key players over the summer – with Kevin Gameiro handed the starting spot up front after the sale of Carlos Bacca.
However, the French striker passed up a number of opportunities in front of goal as Sevilla failed to make the most of their superiority before the dismissal of N’Zonzi for two foolish tackles, leaving the former Stoke midfielder with little defence.
Malaga also enjoyed relative success last season, and came close to starting the new campaign with an impressive win, but neither Nordin Amrabat nor Duje Cop – who both had chances – could break the deadlock, as both sides were forced to settle for a point apiece.
12’ BETO IS CALLED UPON! Cop pulls the trigger from outside the box and draws a palmed save by the Sevilla goalkeeper. Amrabat can’t follow up the shot on the rebound and the score stays level.
13’ GAMEIRO SHOULD HAVE FOUND THE NET! Banega drives through the centre of midfield before shooting on goal. Kameni makes the save, but Gameiro puts the rebound into the side netting. Oh dear.
16’ ANOTHER BIG MISS FOR GAMEIRO! Reyes crosses from the byline down the left side and finds the French striker at the near post, but he put his tame shot past the target.
19’ YET ANOTHER BIG OPPORTUNITY FOR GAMEIRO! The Sevilla striker is played though on goal by Banega, but Angeleri comes across to put him off – and Gameiro shoots well over the bar.
31’ GOOD SAVE FROM BETO! The Sevilla goalkeeper is called upon, not for the first time this evening, with Amrabat threading through Cop for the shot on goal, but he makes the save with his feet.
33’ WAS THAT A PENALTY? Charles plays a great cross into the six-yard box, with Cop straining to meet it with his head at the back post. But he appeared to imply a pull from Coke to stop him from getting there.
71’ ANOTHER CHANCE FOR SEVILLA! Vitolo breaks into the box, evades a challenge and shoots at goal but Kameni makes the save at his near post. He made it look more difficult than it should have been.
72’ SENT OFF! Steven N’Zonzi (Sevilla): That was just stupid from N’Zonzi. He was already on a booking as he made a late challenge on Ambrabat, and the referee had no other choice but to show the former Stoke man the red card.
87’ GOAA… NO! Malaga have the ball in the net, but the flag’s up. Oooo… that’s mighty close. Think the hosts may have been robbed!
92’ CHANCE TO WIN IT! A terrible backpass is intercepted by Charles inside the six-yard box. With his back to goal, he craftily flicks it round the keeper and stabs towards goal… Hacked clear! What a chance for Malaga…
TALKING POINT – – Can Kevin Gameiro take on Carlos Bacca’s mantel at Sevilla?
Unai Emery has made no less than 14 changes to his squad over the summer, with the most significant exit the sale of last season’s top scorer Carlos Bacca to AC Milan. Kevin Gameiro was something of an impact substitute last term – and was successful at that role – but he is now Sevilla’s leading striker, and passed up a number of golden opportunities as his side’s new attacking focal point. Will Emery opt to start Ciro Immobile over Gameiro next time out?
MAN OF THE MATCH – Ever Banega
Played as more of an attacking central midfielder than he is perhaps accustomed to, Banega impressed throughout – providing drive and energy through the middle of the pitch. He provided Gameiro with plenty ammunition, although the French striker failed to make the most of that. The Argentinean was unfortunate to be hooked after the dismissal of N’Zonzi.
Malaga – Kameni 7, Boka 7, Angeleri 7, Albentosa 6, Rosales 6, Amrabat 7, Darder 6,Tissone 6, Horta 7, Cop 7, Charles 5. Subs – Juanpi 5, Carlos 6, Duda 6.
Sevilla – Beto 7, Tremoulinas 7, Krychowiak 6, Rami 7, Coke 7, N’Zonzi 4, Iborra 6, Vitolo 7, Banega 8, Reyes 7, Gameiro 5. Subs – Konoplyanka 6, Immobile 5, Mariano5.