Sevilla held 0-0 at Osasuna, Rakitic has late penalty saved
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Sevilla wasted a chance to move only one point behind Spanish league leader Real Madrid after Ivan Rakitic had an injury-time penalty saved in a 0-0 draw at Osasuna on Saturday.
Jules Koundé gave Sevilla a golden opportunity to snatch the last-gasp winner after he was fouled by Osasuna’s Manu Sánchez in the area, only for goalkeeper Sergio Herrera to block Rakitic’s resulting spot kick.
The stalemate left second-place Sevilla three points behind Madrid, which hosts Granada on Sunday.
Former Manchester United forward Anthony Martial debuted for Sevilla in its starting lineup but, like most of his teammates, was held in check by Osasuna’s disciplined defense in Pamplona.
Eyeing the opportunity this season to finally add to its single league title from 1946, Sevilla added to its already deep squad in the winter transfer market. Martial arrived on loan from United on the heels of Jesús Corona’s transfer from Porto three weeks ago.
Playing his fourth match since arriving, Corona was the only Sevilla attacker able to poke holes in Osasuna’s defense with his dribbling. But his only shot in the 70th minute sailed well high.
“We had a bit of bad luck (on the penalty), but this team has guts. We only took a point here, but we are going to fight for all three points in the games ahead,” Corona said. “We are a team that is going to fight until the end.”
Sevilla forward Lucas Ocampos was dropped from the starting 11 after sustaining an injury while warming up. Sevilla then lost left back Gonzalo Montiel with another injury just minutes into the match. Both Argentines had recently returned from playing for their national squad.
Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou and strikers Youssef En-Nesyri and Munir El Haddadi all played for Sevilla after returning from playing for Morocco in the African Cup.
Osasuna was left in 12th place after just one loss in its last four games.
“Everyone from striker to the players who came off the bench played a great game because we knew who we were facing,” Herrara said. “And on the penalty, I did my part.”
Pere Milla continued his good scoring form after finding the net twice to lead Elche’s 3-1 comeback win over Alavés.
Milla has scored six goals in his last six league appearances.
“Like I always say, goals are like ketchup, you can squeeze and squeeze and nothing comes out until all of sudden it pours,” Milla said.
Brais Méndez scored twice to help Celta Vigo beat Rayo Vallecano 2-0. Méndez used the inside of his left boot to redirect a corner kick into the net with his back to the goal to score a fine second goal.
Mallorca fought back to beat Cádiz 2-1 after Salva Sevilla and Vedat Muriqi, who made his debut, converted penalties. Mallorca, in 17th place, opened up a five-point gap over 18th-place Cádiz, the first of three teams in the relegation zone.
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