Another win for Sevilla FC, who continue their spectacular form at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán and climb back up to second place. Barcelona's match tonight in Valencia will determine the exact gap between the two teams. Banega's penalty and a goal from Sarabia won the game home Machín's men, who managed to subdue his old team.
It was an opportunity to close the year at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán with another win, a tenth in a row at home, and Sevilla FC did not let it slip. Girona came out well-prepared, but unlike the recent league win in Nervión, the result was settled well before the final whistle. Although Sevilla could have been in a commanding situation before the break, they managed to break down the away team's resistance at the start of the second half, when André Silva won a penalty which Banega converted. Sarabia added another soon after with an assist from Ben Yedder to kill the game off. Girona had very few chances to reduce the deficit, with Vaclík making one save of note from Borja's long-range strike in added time, and the third goal for Sevilla seemed more likely, but in the end, the advantage was enough to give them another convincing win at home.
It was a cold morning in Sevilla, but Machín's men took little time to take control of the game. Against a Girona side with the same system that Pablo Machín instilled in them during his time there, Sevilla stayed solid in defence and broke away quickly on the counter, helped by the return of Navas. However, any mistakes during the transition were punished by the visitors, although they rarely got far enough to trouble Vaclík. Ben Yedder had the first chance in the seventh minute, who ran onto a deflected cross but was only able to send the ball into the side-netting. The response from the Catalan side came midway through the first half in the form of a counter-attack after Sevilla had lost the ball in midfield, creating a three-on-three situation. However, Sergi Gómez, attentive to the danger, managed to turn the ball away for a corner.
The team took control of the match from the start and Girona only got close to the Sevilla goal through a couple of counter-attacks
Towards the end of the first half, Sevilla really started to dominate the game and threatened to take the lead. Roque Mesa, who was placed further ahead of Banega in the system today, had an effort from the edge of the box that went just wide of the post. Escudero also had a chance just inside the box, but the clearest chance fell to Sarabia close to the half-hour mark. André Silva's through ball found Sarabia whose disguised strike wrong-footed Iraizoz, but the goalkeeper somehow stuck a leg out to deny the goal.
Sevilla continued to push all the way until halftime but were unable to find the finishing touch. Girona had a chance on the counter which forced Vaclík to make an excellent save, but there was still time for Roque Mesa to have another opportunity, who won the ball and drive into the area before striking towards the near-post, but Iraizoz once again got his foot in the way just in time. Sevilla did everything but score in the first half, but fortunately, they were able to break the deadlock shortly after coming out for the second half. Nine minutes after the restart, André Silva ran onto a through ball, before being brought down in the area by Juanpe. Banega once again took on the responsibility and converted just as he did on Thursday, although this time he placed the ball to the left of the goal.
Iraizoz managed to keep the match at a stalemate until the break but broke the deadlock after the restart
With the scoreline finally in their favour, Sevilla continued to push and started to find more spaces against a Girona side who were forced to come out looking for the equaliser. Sarabia had another chance from cross-cum-shot which he was unable to convert, but the ex-Getafe man would soon get his reward for his efforts. A ball palyed out to Ben Yedder on the left, who just like at the Mestalla, laid the ball on for Sarabia in the area to make it 2-0. The goal calmed things down on the pitch and in the stands, but there were no signs of complacency and the team continued to look for another goal in the last match of 2018 at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán.
They had chances to do so, but on a day in which the team lacked the final touch at times, Sevilla FC managed to convincingly see-out a game that could have become complicated during certain spells. With this win, Sevilla FC have now won ten consecutive matches at home, and will now head to the Butarque stadium before the break, without Éver Banega and Sarabia who will be suspended due to cumulative yellow cards, before returning to play at home in the week of the Epiphany against Atlético Madrid. For the moment, time to enjoy being in second place and wait to see what Barcelona come up with tonight in Valencia.
2. SEVILLA FC:: Vaclík, Carriço, Kjaer (Mercado, 79'), Sergi Gómez, Jesús Navas, Banega, Roque Mesa, Sarabia, Escudero (Promes, 89'), Ben Yedder (Arana, 90+2') and André Silva.
0. GIRONA FC: Iraizoz, Ramalho, Bernardo, Juanpe, Pedro Porro, Pere Pons, Borja García, Douglas Luiz (Aleix García, 62'), Valery [Doumbia, 76' (Granell, 81')], Portu and Stuani.
GOALS: 1-0, 55th minute: Banega pen.; 2-0, 64th minute: Sarabia.
REFEREE: Guillermo Cuadra Fernández, from Balearic Islands. Yellow cards for Valery, Banega and Sarabia.