Seville 1 Real Mallorca 2: Sorry Seville lost without leadership of Ramos

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The Independent Football

The house that Juande Ramos built is crumbling in his absence. Just three days before Seville face Arsenal in the game that will decide who wins Champions League Group H they lost their seventh match of the season, leaving themselves just three points above the drop zone.

While Arsenal top the Premier League, Seville now trail Real Madrid and Barcelona by 14 and 12 points and are nine points from fourth place. At this rate, winning the Champions League will be their only route into next year's event.

That fact, and the added incentive of an appearance in European football's shop window is likely to encourage a far more convincing performance from the home side here tomorrow night.

Frédi Kanouté, who got Seville's goal in this encounter was already looking forward to the break from the disastrous domestic league run. "We are doing very well in the Champions League and we have to make the most of it," the striker said.

Seville's manager, Manolo Jimenez, was also looking ahead. "As hard as this defeat is to take we have to look to the Arsenal game now. It's another competition for us and we have to go out and try to beat a very good side," he said.

Jimenez was blamed after the game for not making the most of a man advantage handed to Seville in the 76th minute when Fernando Varela was sent off for a second yellow card.

Varela left proceedings having scored Mallorca's decisive second goal with a 40-yard pile-driver on 38 minutes. Ariel Ibagaza had scored the opener after a quarter of an hour after good work by the Argentina winger Jonas, who is rumoured to be interesting Portsmouth.

Tellingly, the second goal was the cue for certain Seville players to begin arguing among themselves, team spirit having been hit by their poor league start. "The past doesn't help you win matches" said Jimenez afterwards. And Kanouté admitted the team had been painfully slow out of the blocks. "We made a feeble start," he said. "And they made us pay by scoring two from two chances."

Kanouté it was who gave the home side hope when he hooked in the substitute Ernesto Chevanton's free- kick on the 50-minute mark. But Seville, badly missing the suspended Dani Alves, never looked like avoiding defeat.

Seville (4-4-2): Palop; Hinkel, Fazio, Drago, Adriano; Navas, Poulsen (Renato, 71), Keita, Capel (De Mul, 57); Kanouté, Fabiano (Chevanton, h-t).

Mallorca (4-2-3-1): Lux; Hector, Ballesteros, Nunes, F Navarro; Pereyra, Borja (Navarro, 90); Varela, Ibajaza (Arango, 80), Jonas; Guiza (Webo, 64).

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