Zinedine Zidane was able to breathe a sigh of relief as Yassine Bounou’s own goal gave Real Madrid a 1-0 Sevilla victory.
After an unsteady start to the season in LaLiga and in the Champions League, Madrid’s head coach has come under – pressure.
His side had plenty of opportunities to comfortably defeat Seville, but could not find a decisive finish until the goalkeeper of the home side ran out of luck in the second half.
The low cross of Ferland Mendy looked sure to be turned home by Vinicius Junior, but he made just the slightest of contacts and the ball deflected off Bounou, with a precious victory secured by Thibaut Courtois’ late save from Lucas Ocampos at the other end.
Bruised by a midweek loss to Shakhtar Donetsk that put Madrid in a European pickle, Zidane needed a reprieve at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan against former Los Blancos manager Julen Lopetegui.
When Rodrygo spotted Vinicius unmarked in the penalty area, Madrid spurned a glorious first-minute opportunity, but a weak cross towards the far corner bounced just wide.
As his attempted clearance rattled against Vinicius and looped across goal, Bounou then nearly gifted Madrid an opener.
Karim Benzema was waiting from close range to nod in but was beaten to the ball by defender Diego Carlos, who cushioned the relieved Bounou with a header.
Before the break, Toni Kroos and Benzema came close, but Sevilla’s resistance ended at the 55th-minute mark.
Mendy on the left picked out Benzema’s clever throw, and his low center should have been perfect for Vinicius, but for Bounou it turned out to be far from it.
His head-in-hands moment in the 21st century made Bounou the first Seville goalkeeper to score an own goal in LaLiga.
Before Madrid’s goalkeeper saved well from Ocampos’ acrobatic volley to seal the points, Suso went close to a stunning equaliser but sent his shot just too far with Courtois happy to see it zip off target.