There was both elation and despair for Real Madrid at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in their latest La Liga match, as they gained the victory over Sevilla that they were seeking to extend their lead to four points at the top of the table, but saw star midfielder James Rodriguez leave the field with a broken metatarsal. The Colombian was due to face surgery shortly after the game.
The Champions League winners went ahead on the night, when James headed the opening goal from a Marcelo cross and doubled their advantage through the unfortunate player's replacement, Jese Rodriguez (no relation to James) before the interval. Sevilla came back into the game when they pulled a goal back through Liverpool-loanee Iago Aspas ten minutes from time, but it served merely as a consolation as the home side held on to their slender advantage to the end of the match.
Aspas came off the bench to net his second goal in as many matches and tenth for the season, for the current Europa League holders.
It was the fourth successive victory in the league for the Madrid club, after a recent mini blip had seen their Spanish record winning streak come to an end with a series of setbacks, including defeat to local rivals Atletico in the Copa del Rey. Besides losing James, they also saw Sergio Ramos limp off after only nine minutes of the game and are looking a little short on numbers ahead of the upcoming derby with Atletico, with Marcelo also suspended for the game. Sevilla also suffered injury issues, as first-choice keeper Beto spent the night in hospital, after receiving an accidental Karim Benzema knee to the head.
Madrid managed without Cristiano Ronaldo for once (serving a two-match ban after his recent sending off), but will have been concerned by Gareth Bale's disappointing contribution to the outcome of the game, following on from a lacklustre performance against Real Sociedad in their previous match. The Welshman showed plenty of purpose but his selection of shooting, when a better pass was on, did not endure him to the expectant fans.