Sevilla’s sacking and Pep’s decision

La Liga Loca doesn’t have shelves full of journalism awards for nothing, you know. Even though they may technically be home-made. From tin cans.

But the blog did soothsay that if Sevilla failed to grab a decent result against Xerez on Tuesday night then Manolo Jiménez would be history by Wednesday. And so it came to pass with a good three minutes to spare till midnight struck (in Spain, sleeping is for wimps).

LLL may have lost patience with the former Sevilla boss 18 months ago, but the Champions League-chasing club have shown remarkable faith in the former ‘B’ team coach who took over in October 2007 after the departure of the treacherous Juande Ramos to Spurs.

However, an injury-time equaliser for Leandro Gioda saw Sevilla dropping yet more points in a 1-1 draw at the Sánchez Pizjuán to seal Jiménez’ grim fate.


This is the end... click to watch video

As it happens, the result against battling bottom-feeders Xerez wasn’t the coach’s fault on this occasion. Already without the AWOL Luis Fabiano, Diego Capel and Jesús Navas for the encounter, Sevilla then lost Diego Perotti and Didier Zokora through injury.

These attacking absentees left the fifth-placed side listless and languid and relying on an iffy penalty, beautifully converted by Fredi Kanouté, for their one and only goal.

“It was a very tough decision,” claimed sporting director Monchi after the game, saying that he had not seen any sign of a positive reaction from the players during a spell of seven games without a win.

Although no decision has been made on Jiménez’ replacement, Luis Aragonés is thought to be the strong front runner, which could make Sevilla worth watching again, if not for footballing reasons.

Tuesday night’s other game was the maddest of affairs between Sporting and Deportivo which saw four red cards - and all for the visitors' pugilistic party - and a 2-1 win for the home team.

Goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia was sent off first, for taking out Diego Castro outside of his penalty area. Furious manager Miguel Angel Lotina was then sent to the stands as the game went into injury time, with his assistant José Luis Ribera following right behind for some potty-mouthed suggestions to the man in the middle.

It was unlikely that Lotina’s mood was to improve further, considering Sporting won a very late (and duly converted) penalty for a tackle by Alberto Lopo that seemed a good ‘un, but only after a few replays.


Click to watch video

And so it was the Deportivo defender who was the second player to be sent off after apparently calling the referee a "son of a [bleep!]" for his decision.

“I want to congratulate the ref for everything he has done in uniting the dressing room,” fumed the sarcastic Deportivo boss, minutes after the defeat.

AND SO TO WEDNESDAY
Barcelona are expected to tonk Osasuna at the Camp Nou, with or without Leo Messi, in the main match of six being played on Wednesday night.

The talk in the Catalan town is off the Argentinian being rested for the occasion, having played 11 games in a row. But this means that stumbling Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic needs to get his goal-getting booty into action, with Mundo Deportivo’s JM Artells writing that “the crowd wants to show that they are on his side and want the best for him.”

Should the Pamplonan players receive a pummelling, it may harpoon Marca’s recently launched and sadly predictable ‘Messi-dependency’ campaign. 

Slowly turning to sludge, Villarreal’s season continues with a visit to Tenerife, another club one bad result away from firing their boss, which isn't good news for José Luis Oltra. Racing host Mallorca, whilst Almería will enjoy the football stylings of Zaragoza in their home.

Meanwhile,Valladolid are attempting a minor miracle with back-to-back league wins for the first time in a year. Indeed, the Pucela side having a decent chance of achieving their goal considering they are playing Espanyol, who've racked up one away win all season and scored just six to boot (three of which  came in that sole win, at Depor back in September).

All those games kick off at 20.00 with Valencia drawing the late-night short straw with the visit of Málaga, a team with the impressive record of just of just one victory at the Mestalla since 1955.

So that’ll be a home win, then.

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