Sevilla’s Montenegrin forward Stevan Jovetic (C) celebrates after scoring during the Spanish league footbal match Sevilla FC vs Club Deportivo Leganes SAD at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Sevilla on March 11, 2017. The game ended with a draw 1-1.
CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP
Sevilla’s La Liga title hopes suffered a fresh blow on Saturday as they were held 1-1 at home by lowly Leganes. Gabriel Pires fired the visitors into a deserved early lead after just three minutes.
Stefan Jovetic levelled for Sevilla just before half-time, but it was Leganes who had the better chances in the second half to take all three points.
Two dropped points leave third-placed Sevilla still three points adrift of La Liga leaders Barcelona, who now also have a game in hand. At the other end of the table, Leganes move six points clear of the relegation zone and up to 16th.
Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli had left out a host of first-team regulars with one eye on their Champions League last 16, second leg at Leicester City on Tuesday.
However, that decision backfired when Leganes capitalised on a sluggish start by the hosts as Pires backheeled Nabil El Zhar’s low cross into the far corner.
On-loan Inter Milan striker Jovetic was the only Sevilla player to escape with any credit as he finished off a fine move for his fourth goal since joining in January.
Leganes, though, should have retaken the lead when Miguel Angel Guerrero volleyed wide with the goal gaping early in the second period.
And substitute Luciano was unlucky when he nearly caught Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico off his line with a clever chip that floated just wide.
Sporting Gijon remain rooted in the relegation zone as Munir El Haddadi’s header six minutes from time rescued Valencia a point from a 1-1 draw at Mestalla earlier on Saturday.