LFP: Sevilla down champions Madrid

DREAM DEBUT: Manolo Jimenez had the perfect start to his new job as Sevilla coach as his side handed league leaders Real Madrid only their second defeat of the season

AFP , MADRID

Mon, Nov 05, 2007 - Page 18

Sevilla showed there is life after Juande Ramos turning in a terrific display to down in-form champions Real Madrid 2-0 late on Saturday.

Real were brimming with confidence after crushing Valencia 5-1 in midweek but they came crashing back down to earth when Sevilla scored twice inside the first 21 minutes.

Sergio Ramos was then given his marching orders shortly after the break ending Real's hopes of a fightback.

It was a second defeat of the season for leaders Real and left Barcelona with an opportunity to close to within one point if they could defeat Real Betis yesterday.

A rasping volley from Mali international Seydou Keita put Sevilla in front on 19 minutes and two minutes later Luis Fabiano added a second with his seventh goal of the season.

The win was a major boost for new coach Manolo Jimenez, an ex-Sevilla player who spent 14 seasons with the club, who has the task of keeping the back-to-back UEFA Cup winners, now 10th in the league, heading in the right direction after Ramos jumped ship to Tottenham Hotspur.

In Saturday's early match incoming Valencia coach Ronald Koeman watched on in delight as caretaker coach Oscar Fernandez guided his new team to a 2-0 win over Real Mallorca as they moved up to fourth in the table.

Seasoned striker Fernando Morientes, 31, showed Koeman that he is not a spent force with his fifth and sixth goals of the season to help the club bounce back from their Real humiliation.

"The team gave all their answers on the pitch," Fernandez said. "It was a great team effort tonight with Fernando Morientes my first line of defense and goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand the last."

Koeman's first match in charge will be tomorrow when Valencia host Rosenborg in the Champions League.

Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster has a reputation for excessive player rotation but the German coach stuck by the same starting XI that demolished Valencia in midweek.

Argentine Fernando Gago and Mahamadou Diarra formed the holding midfield axis to allow the more creative Guti to go forward.

But Sevilla started at a frantic tempo and Fabiano forced a terrific save from Iker Casillas in the fifth minute.

Keita then took center stage unleashing a 25m shot on the half-volley that that thundered past Casillas.

It was Keita's first goal of the season and he will score few better.

Real had the tightest defense in the league prior to the match but it was quickly breached again.

Frederic Kanoute's shot was parried and Fabiano followed up to stroke the ball home.

It was a seventh goal of the season for Fabiano who moves level with Barcelona's Lionel Messi at the top of the scoring charts.

Schuster has never won at Sevilla's Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium during his coaching career and when Ramos, a Sevilla old boy, collected a second yellow card five minutes after the interval he knew that run would continue.

Both teams are in Champions League action on Wednesday with Sevilla traveling to Steaua Bucharest while Real face Olympiakos.