April 2, 2017 / 12:12 PM / 6 months ago

Soccer-Sevilla drop out of top three after stalemate with Sporting

BARCELONA, April 2 (Reuters) - Sevilla dropped out of the top three in La Liga for the first time since November after being held to a goalless draw at home on Sunday by relegation-fighting Sporting Gijon, dropping points for the fourth consecutive league game.

Jorge Sampaoli’s side dominated possession and had 17 attempts on goal but lacked a cutting edge, particularly in the second half when they launched repeated assaults on the visiting area but could not get past the impressive Ivan Cuellar in goal.

The Sporting goalkeeper anticipated every moment of danger brilliantly, frequently scooping up through balls in his area, and made a stunning save by leaping low to the right bottom corner to tip away a shot from Vitolo in a sweeping breakaway.

Sevilla were not helped by their wayward shooting. Vitolo, Vicente Iborra, Steven Nzonzi and Steven Jovetic all missed the target with efforts in the closing stages. For the second home game running the fans inside the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium greeted the final whistle with loud boos.

Sevilla slip down to fourth spot on 58 points, level with Atletico Madrid, who leapfrogged them on goal difference after beating Malaga 2-0 on Saturday. Sevilla have surrendered a nine-point lead over Atletico in the space of four games.

Sporting remain in 18th, five points adrift of safety.

Real Madrid defend their two-point lead over Barcelona at the top of the table later on Sunday when they host Alaves, while champions Barca visit Granada. (Reporting by Richard Martin; editing by Clare Lovell)

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