Liga - Sporting shade sloppy Sevilla
Andre Castro’s superb goal gave Sporting Gijon a vital Liga win at home to Sevilla.
The Portuguese midfielder smashed home a half-volley from a tight angle as Sporting played a counter-attacking game to perfection.
Victory keeps them 19th, but they go level on points with Racing Santander and three points shy of safety.
Sevilla stay 10th and could drop into the bottom half of the standings dependent on Sunday’s results.
Sevilla were missing injured strikers Frederic Kanoute and Alvaro Negredo, and it showed: in an unaccustomed lone striker role, Manu del Moral led the line gamely but it was easy to see why the shot-shy deep-lying forward has struggled for goals as he toiled with little end product.
Diego Perotti had the best chance for Sevilla, heading off the post after a fine cross from Jesus Navas, but Sporting were the better side in the first half, David Barral firing and Andres Palop when clean through, and they took the lead in style when Andre Castro half-volleyed in from an impossible angle.
Sevilla had a penalty appeal rejected on the stroke of half-time as he went down following a Sevilla corner, but it was a deserved lead for the struggling hosts as boss Javier Clemente looked to get one over on bitter rival Michel.
Sporting shut up shop, bringing on defender Alberto Lora for striker Barral, and Sevilla responded by introducing target-man Baba Diawara.
The visitors’ frustration was tangible – Manu was lucky not to be sent off when the ref missed his petulant kick at Gregory Arnolin, the pair having tussled all match.
Sporting boss Clemente decided to bring Mate Bilic into the fray, the Croatian’s strength deemed suitable to occupy the visiting defenders, while his counterpart Michel – who has engaged in a war of words with his former national team coach – introduced Piotr Trochowski, the Germany winger putting in some dangerous crosses and fired a low shot wide.
Sevilla were launching everything forward, full-back Coke overhead kicking clear of the bar and keeper Juan Pablo diving around acrobatically as crosses rained in from either flank.
But it was the hosts who should have added to their lead, Bilic denied from point-blank range by a phenomenal Palop save after Formose Mendy’s run and cross.
Five minutes additional time was signalled, during which Sevilla piled everyone forward. But it was to little avail – another direct run from Mendy almost saw Sporting get a second, his low driven ball just fizzing beyond the far post in the final minute.
There was an unseemly brawl after the final whistle as Sevilla reacted to perceived gamesmanship from Sporting, who cared not one jot as they ran into the dressing rooms to celebrate their sixth win of the season.