Can you hear the drums, Fernando: Sevilla triumph on silent return

The leaflet of instructions handed to every club on the eve of La Liga returning to action insists “players should avoid or minimise physical contact with celebrations”, yet when the time finally came they couldn’t help themselves, a pile of players building in the corner before an empty stand where euphoriawould normally erupt. There was still almost half an hour left in the Seville derby, Spain’s first game back, but a second goal had secured a victory over Real Betis, the team they most liketobeat at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. At the final whistle, the hugelyimpressive Ocampos, who had been withdrawn to a smattering of applause, pulled off his mask and leapt on to Luuk de Jong’s back. At the start, the teams came out in single file, substitutes making their way to the stands in gloves and masks, occupying a handful of rows and sitting apart as the starters made their way to the pitch – a walk that looked a little lonely without the roar that is supposed to accompany them, especially on a night like this. As the teams emerged and headed to their own half, no handshake and no posing for pictures, Sevilla’s anthem played – recorded in advance and ringing around the wide, red space. There was a game at least and it was good too, the pace quicker than might have been feared, the intensity announced by an early encounter between Sergio Reguilón and Emerson down by the corner flag. There was a shout when the Sevilla goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik picked the ball up, suspiciously near the edge of his area, but most of what unfolded did so at the other end. Ocampos and Munir El Haddadi especially impressed, as Sevilla opened out the pitch and moved on to the front foot. Just before half time, De Jong turned superbly and spread the ball to Ocampos, whose shot thudded against Joel’s palms. And then, ten minutes later Mateu Lahoz – welcome back to Spain’s box office referee – saw something in a crowd of jumping players and blew for a penalty.