MADRID (AFP) – Real Madrid moved four points clear at the top of La Liga as goals from James Rodriguez and Jese handed them a 2-1 win over Sevilla on Wednesday.
However, the European champions will be without Sergio Ramos and Rodriguez for Saturday’s crucial Madrid derby away to La Liga champions Atletico as they both limped off in the first-half.
Marcelo will definitely miss out at the Vicente Calderon after picking up his fifth booking of the season in the second-half.
Substitute Iago Aspas pulled a goal back for Sevilla late on, but defeat means their lead over Valencia in fourth remains at just a point.
“Sergio had a hamstring problem, we need to wait a few days to evaluate it. James had a problem in his right foot, I don’t know exactly what but it is sure that they won’t be available,” said Real boss Carlo Ancelotti.
“I have confidence in the others. Nacho and (Raphael) Varane did very well, I have a lot of confidence in them.”
“We will appeal Marcelo’s yellow card because for me it wasn’t even a foul.”
Madrid were still missing the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo as he completed a two-game ban and Sevilla will rue not taking a number of chances in the first period.
“It’s difficult, we played well and had chances, but it is always difficult here against Real Madrid,” said Sevilla boss Unai Emery.
Vitolo shot straight at Iker Casillas when clean through as Madrid nearly conceded inside two minutes for the fourth time in five games.
Ramos then left the field holding his left hamstring to be replaced by Nacho.
The hosts went in front with their first serious attack as Rodriguez timed his run to perfection to head Marcelo’s cross past the helpless Beto.
Vicente Iborra should have equalised moments later when he hit the post after rounding Casillas and Grzegorz Krychowiak then headed into the side-netting when unmarked from a corner.
The game was interrupted by two more injuries as Rodriguez suffered an injury to his right foot, whilst Sevilla goalkeeper Beto had to be carried from the field on a stretcher after an ugly collision with Karim Benzema.
Sevilla were their own worst enemies once more when Madrid doubled their advantage nine minutes before the break as Carlos Bacca gifted possession to Isco in midfield and the ball was eventually worked to Jese to fire home his first La Liga goal since suffering a cruciate ligament injury last March.
Gareth Bale may face more questions about his selfishness in front of goal when he went alone instead of squaring for the unmarked Benzema early in the second period.
Jese then struck the outside of the post and substitute ‘keeper Sergio Rico made a fine save from Isco as Madrid threatened a third.
However, they suffered another setback when Marcelo was booked for a foul on Vitolo meaning he too will miss Real’s sixth meeting with Atletico this season due to suspension.
Sevilla finally took one of their chances 10 minutes from time when Vitolo skipped past two challenges down the left and his cut-back was turned into the roof of the net by Aspas.
Madrid then had to endure a nervy finale, but they held on for a vital three points.