x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Kanoute to the rescue

Sevilla produced a vintage display on Saturday night as they came from behind with10 men to beat in-form Deportivo La Coruna 3-1 away.

Sevilla produced a vintage display on Saturday night as they came from behind with10 men to beat in-form Deportivo La Coruna 3-1 away. The victory moved Manolo Jimenez's side up to second in Spain's Primera Liga after his half-time gamble paid off handsomely.

Deportivo's early dominance had been rewarded when Rodolfo Bodipo gave them the lead after 34 minutes, before Sevilla midfielder Enzo Maresca received a red card in the 41st minute for elbowing. Down to 10 men against a Depor team who had lost just once at home all season, Jimenez introduced striker Freddie Kanoute for a defender. The Malian international quickly showed his worth, shaking off three Deportivo defenders to cross for Luis Fabiano to equalise five minutes after the break.

Kanoute set up Sevilla's second with another cross from the right, which was met by the head of Renato in the 78th minute. As the Galicians pushed for an equaliser and forced goalkeeper Andres Palop to make several excellent saves, Sevilla counter-attacked in injury time to grab a third through substitute Diego Capel. Kanoute, who was fined ?3,000 (Dh 14,800) by the Spanish Football Federation on Friday for revealing aT-shirt with "Palestine" written on it in several languages after he scored in Sevilla's 2-1 cup victory against Depor last week, didn't start the game because he was carrying an Achilles injury.

"Kanoute was prepared to risk his injury and he made the difference between the two sides," said delighted coach Jimenez. The two sides meet again next week in the second leg of their cup tie. Saturday's other game was even more thrilling as Valencia and Villarreal drew 3-3 in an enthralling derby at the Mestalla. The hard-fought point ended Villarreal's three-match losing streak, but it looked unlikely after Valencia went two goals up inside 10 minutes through Ruben Baraja's first-minute header and David Villa's fine strike nine minutes later.

Despite dominating, Valencia couldn't add a third and the 45,000 home crowd was stunned when Fabrico Fuentes headed a goal back for Villarreal just before half time. Striker Joseba Llorente then equalised after 76 minutes. Valencia responded and went back in front three minutes later with yet another header through Edu, but Villarreal equalised through a Giuseppe Rossi penalty six minutes from time.

"It was a very tough game but we showed that we are a very good team," Rossi said. The Valencia coach Unai Emery said: "At 2-0 we were dominant, but the game changed when Villarreal scored. I remain proud of my players and the fans." "It would have been unjust if either team would have won," said Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini. "It was a spectacular game." @Email:amitten@thenational.ae