Sevilla suffered another blow to their European hopes as they were beaten at home by bitter rivals Real Betis, meaning los Rojiblancos now need to beat Rayo in order to keep their Europa League hopes alive. The team from Vallecano slipped into danger zone following their fifth defeat in a row and another setback could see them slip into the relegation places.
Tough times for Sevilla
Sevilla enjoyed a bright start to the season in spite of the major squad changes in the summer, but instead of raising their game as the league campaign progressed, los Rojiblancos largely struggled for form in the second part of the season and are now on the brink of a bottom table finish. There is still enough time to save this season, provided the other results go their way, and it is clear that the Rayo Vallecano game will be crucial to team’s European hopes. The atmosphere in the team is very poor after the derby defeat to Betis, but there are no doubts Sevilla have more than enough quality to win this game, especially as their opponents are in even worse position than they are. Los Rojiblancos have been pretty convincing at home this season and they should have it in them to record a valuable victory. The game will also serve as an opportunity for Freddy Kanoute to say goodbye to Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan and for that reason the fans are likely to resist the temptation to insult their players for the poor showings over the last few weeks.
Gary Demel and Alvaro Negredo miss out through suspension, while Manu del Moral is doubtful with a calf problem. Emir Spahic, Julian Escude and Diego Perotti are all sidelined.
Major problems for Rayo
Even though everybody predicted them a straight return to Segunda, Rayo Vallecano became the biggest surprise package of the season and they spent most of the league campaign in the top half of the standings. Nonetheless, Jose Ramon Sandoval’s side suffered a major dip in form in late March and they have since lost 8 of last 9 La Liga games. The dismal run of results saw them slip into the dangerous zone and being just three points clear of Real Zaragoza, who are set to face bottom-placed Racing at home, the team from the outskirts of Madrid are under intense pressure at the moment. The players are clearly very low on confidence after the five-match losing run and even if Sevilla are in a similar position, they face an uphill task at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Coach Jose Ramon Sandoval has no fresh injury worries, although he is expected to make several changes to the side that were beaten by Mallorca.
Both sides are under pressure following the disappointing run of results, but Sevilla have quality and home field advantage on their side, which should prove to be enough for a victory. Rayo Vallecano will be very motivated at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, but after losing last five games they don’t have much to hope for from this match.
Our prediction: Home win
Odds: 1.80 (4/5)
Bookmaker: Stan James