Casemiro strike powers Real Madrid past Sevilla

Casemiro strike powers Real Madrid past Sevilla


Real Madrid's midfielder Casemiro (right) celebrates with Luka Modric after scoring against Sevilla on Saturday. AFP

Casemiro's stunning long-range strike and a late goal from Luka Modric earned Real Madrid a 2-0 win over Sevilla and a much-needed boost to their flailing title challenge in La Liga.

Madrid began the day 10 points adrift of leaders Barcelona, a gap that will be restored if the Catalans defeat Leganes, but this victory should inject a timely shot of confidence.

Casemiro's bending effort in the 78th minute and Modric's injury-time finish settled a compelling contest of third against fourth but Madrid were dominant in the second half and, in the end, deserved the points.

It means they move above Sevilla and behind Atletico Madrid, who stay second after running out 3-0 winners away at bottom-club Huesca.

Diego Simeone's side remain Barca's most tenacious challengers but for Real, this was their most impressive result in weeks, following a run of only two wins from five matches.

"Beating your direct rivals is always worth more than three points," coach Santiago Solari said afterwards. "The celebration for our first goal was pure joy."

Sevilla had gone top in November when Barca were also stuttering but doubts remain about their sturdiness under pressure. In their last 28 visits to the Santiago Bernabeu and Camp Nou, they have now lost 27 and drawn one.