There was an unusual quietness to the surrounding areas of Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Sunday afternoon. Nervion, the affluent suburb where the stadium proudly stands, is usually packed two hours kick-off. Every bodega and bar is filled with Sevillistas eating tapas and drinking cerveza (beer) or cafe (coffee) before the game. This would be the case against any small club, let alone Atletico Madrid, the team one place above Sevilla in second place. But on Sunday, nada.
Where is everybody?
Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan (Exterior main stand)
Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan (Interior)
It was, of course, January 6. The Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, bigger than Christmas Day in Spain, when Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar give presents to all the lucky children around the country. It seemed the majority of the 38,603 in attendance were still busy unwrapping presents and stuffing their faces until 20 minutes before kick-offm when all of a sudden, the stadium was filled with an enthusiastic buzz, all ready for the singing of the Sevilla FC anthem, Himno Centenario.
It only got better from there as the two teams played out a contest that made up for intensity what it lacked in quality, reflected in the 12 yellow cards dished out by referee Mateu Lahoz. Sevilla were relentless in the opening 25 minutes and their pressure ultimately was rewarded with Wissam Ben Yedder's opener, much to the joy of the home support.
But it didn't last long….
As I spoke about in my match report, both sides had chances to win the game and everyone was on the edge of their seats until the final whistle. Unfortunately, it will probably be my last game at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan as I'm relocating to Barcelona next week. Stay tuned for my next in-game coverage, hopefully from the Nou Camp!