December 15, 2017 / 5:15 PM / a year ago

Berizzo returns after cancer operation as Sevilla draw

Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - FC Barcelona vs Sevilla - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - November 4, 2017 Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo REUTERS/Albert Gea

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo took charge of his first game since having surgery to treat prostate cancer and received a rapturous reception from the Sanchez Pizjuan crowd before his side’s 0-0 home draw with Levante on Friday.

Chants of the Argentine coach’s name reverberated around the stadium before the game, which despite the scoreline was not lacking for chances. Both sides struck the post in the first half while Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico and opposite number Oier Olazabal were kept busy throughout.

Sevilla, who will face Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions League, are fifth in La Liga with 29 points from 15 games, 10 adrift of leaders Barcelona, while Levante are 15th on 17.

News of Berizzo’s diagnosis came the morning after Sevilla’s thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Liverpool in the Champions League group stage on Nov. 21. He underwent surgery seven days later.

Spanish newspaper Marca reported that Berizzo is unlikely to be present for the match at Real Sociedad next Wednesday as he has been advised against travelling by plane so soon after the operation.

Berizzo’s assistant Ernesto Marcucci is expected to take charge for that game, as he has for the team’s previous four games while the head coach was recovering from the operation.

Reporting by Richard Martin,; Editing by Ed Osmond

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