La Liga: Sevilla’s woes leave Marcelino high and dry
The Andalusian team changes coach yet again after poor Liga and European form.
By Halima Ali
Only a week ago, Sevilla Sporting Director Ramón Rodríguez Monchi declared full confidence in his coach Marcelino García Toral. His faith only lasted a week, however, with a 2-1 home defeat to Villarreal proving the final nail in the coffin.
Still believing he could turn the team’s fortunes around, the coach refused to quit on Sunday evening but the decision was taken out of his hands. Following an emergency meeting with soon-to-be-incarcerated club president José María del Nido and Monchi on Monday morning, he was given his marching orders.
Only in the job since the summer of 2011, he was brought in to replace Gregorio Manzano – who was himself recently dismissed by Atlético Madrid – and expected to better the club’s fifth place finish.
Instead, he got off to a dismal start failing to see Sevilla, who were back-to-back UEFA Cup winners in 2006 and 2007, past the qualifying stage of the Europa League.
Sevilla have managed only four wins under Marcelino, their last league victory coming at the beginning of December.
Any faint hope of silverware also vanished as they were knocked out of the Copa del Rey quarter finals by Valencia last month.
A week of discontent also saw Sevilla forced to deny talk of a harsh exchange of words between the coach and striker Frédéric Kanouté, which reportedly saw the latter stomping off to the changing rooms during training.
At the weekend, Sevilla played host to an equally struggling Villarreal side, who had not won on the road this season and it was the visitors who struck first as Borja Valero netted on 22 minutes.
The home side were level before the break, however, as Villarreal midfielder Bruno deflected Jesús Navas’s shot into his own goal 12 minutes later.
Diego López made fine saves to deny Álvaro Negredo and Navas after half-time, and it was left to Javier Camuñas to score the winner 10 minutes from time with a strike into the top corner at the end of a flowing counter-attack.
With 26 points from 21 matches, Sevilla are now 11th, just four points above the relegation zone and six adrift of the Champions League spots. Former Getafe coach and Real Madrid player Míchel has taken over the reins until the end of the season.
Meanwhile, reigning champions Barcelona continued to chase table toppers Real Madrid with a 2-1 victory over Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou.
Youngster Cristian Tello wasted no time in his first league start with a ninth minute goal for Barça before Lionel Messi struck on 72 minutes. Carlos Vela got one back for the visitors two minutes later making for a nervy finish.
In the Spanish capital, Sergio Ramos’s first-half header was enough to keep Madrid on course for the title with a 1-0 triumph away to city rivals Getafe.
Meanwhile, Champions League hopefuls Athletic Bilbao and Espanyol played out a thrilling 3-3 draw at the San Mamés.
Óscar de Marcos gave Bilbao the lead before half time but Espanyol turned the game around after the break with goals from Romaric and Vladimir Weiss.
Fernando Llorente levelled for the home side, who went on to regain the lead through Javi Martínez, but substitute Juan Albín scored a last-minute equaliser for Espanyol.
In the late kick-off, Atlético Madrid and third-placed Valencia played out a goalless stalemate in the Vicente Calderón, while the fight for fourth spot continues after Levante were held to a 1-1 draw at home by lowly Racing Santander.
Atlético Madrid 0 – 0 Valencia CF
Real Zaragoza 1 – 2 Rayo Vallecano
Sevilla FC 1 – 2 Villarreal CF
Sporting Gijón 1 – 1 Osasuna
FC Barcelona 2 – 1 Real Sociedad
Getafe CF 0 – 1 Real Madrid
Levante UD 1 – 1 Racing Santander
Athletic Bilbao 3 – 3 RCD Espanyol
RCD Mallorca 1 – 0 Real Betis
Granada CF 2 – 1 Málaga CF
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Published: Feb 7 2012
Category: Spain News, Sports
Republication: Creative Commons, non-commercial
Short URL: http://iberosphere.com/?p=5370
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Tags: Barça, barcelona, CF, Europa League, kanoute, Liga, michel, Real Madrid, real madrid barça, Sevilla, spain, Spain football, spain soccer, spanish football, Spanish soccer, Villarreal