Football: Late Jovetic strike ends Real Madrid's 40-game unbeaten run

Football: Late Jovetic strike ends Real Madrid's 40-game unbeaten run
Sevilla's Montenegrin forward Stevan Jovetic (R) celebrates with Sevilla's French forward Wissam Ben Yedder after scoring the 2-1 victory goal during the Spanish league football match Sevilla FC vs Real Madrid CF at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Sevilla on January 15, 2017.
PHOTO: AFP

MADRID - Real Madrid's remarkable 40-game unbeaten run stretching back to April ended in dramatic fashion on Sunday when Sevilla's Stevan Jovetic struck in added time to snatch a 2-1 win and blow the La Liga title race wide open.

Real looked set to go five points clear of rivals Barcelona at the top when Cristiano Ronaldo scored a joint-record 56th La Liga penalty to open the scoring in the 67th minute.

But Sevilla drew level in the 85th thanks to an own goal by their former defender Sergio Ramos, whose every touch had been mercilessly booed by the home fans, and new signing Jovetic completed the fightback when he bent in a shot from outside the area, three days after scoring against Real on his debut.

Real remain top with 40 points but saw their lead over Sevilla cut to one point, although they have a game in hand over the Andalusians and Barca, who are third on 38.

The two sides had played out a thrilling 3-3 draw in the King's Cup on Thursday, with Real fighting back from 3-1 down in the final stages to preserve their record unbeaten run.

Zidane recalled Luka Modric and Ronaldo after resting them on Thursday and employed a 3-5-2 shape for the first time this season, making for a far tighter affair than the whirlwind football both sides had served up three days earlier.

ONLY CHANCE

The only chance of note in the first half fell to Ronaldo courtesy of a scrambled pass from Karim Benzema but the Portuguese mis-hit the ball, sending it wide.

Sevilla's Wissam Ben Yedder burst forward from the right hand side 10 minutes into the second half but lacked the power to beat Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas, while Benzema later fired over in a moment of chaos in the Sevilla area.

A tight game was forced open when Sevilla left back Sergio Escudero misplaced a backpass and Real's Dani Carvajal raced onto it and into the box, beating a defender and trying to round goalkeeper Sergio Rico before being tripped.

Rico escaped a caution but was powerless to stop Ronaldo's powerful low spot kick, which took him level with Real great Hugo Sanchez as the top penalty taker in the history of La Liga.

The game was far from over, however. Ramos headed a Pablo Sarabia free kick into his own net to the delight of the Sevilla fans who he had mocked in the Cup draw after scoring a penalty.

The home supporters had one last laugh when Montenegrin former Manchester City and Inter Milan forward Jovetic let fly from outside the box and sent the ball into the far top corner.

Earlier, Valencia beat Espanyol 2-1 with goals from Martin Montoya and Santi Mina to earn their first league win since October and move four points clear of Sporting Gijon, who lost 3-2 at home to Eibar and occupy the final relegation spot.

Elsewhere the two bottom ranked sides Granada and Osasuna drew 1-1, while Celta Vigo beat Alaves 1-0 to stay eighth.

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