Berizzo returns to coach Sevilla after treating tumor
SEVILLE, Spain (AP) — Eduardo Berizzo returned to Sevilla’s bench on Friday for the first time since receiving treatment for a prostate tumor.
Berizzo, however, couldn’t inspire the hosts to anything better than 0-0 with Levante that left Sevilla in fifth place in the Spanish league.
Levante went close to scoring in the 35th minute when David “Jason” Remeseiro struck a free kick onto the upright. The ball ricocheted off the back of goalkeeper Sergio Rico before bouncing clear.
Goalkeeper Oier Olazabal made several saves to secure Levante a point. He was at his best when he got a hand on Gabriel Mercado’s header to push it against his post just before halftime.
Sevilla announced on Nov. 22 that Berizzo had a prostate tumor. Assistant coach Ernesto Marcucci coached Sevilla for the previous four matches, including the last round’s 5-0 defeat at Real Madrid.
“I feel fine,” Berizzo said. “I wanted to be with the team after the loss (at Madrid). I wanted to be here to tell my players that their coach is with them. If we couldn’t win today, then we will do our best to beat Real Sociedad next match.”
Jesus Navas set a club record for the most appearances for Sevilla at 416 games when he went on as a late substitute. Navas, 32, returned to his boyhood club this season after four years at Manchester City. He broke the record held by Pablo Blanco.
“I am proud to set the record with my team, but we wanted a different result,” Navas said. “It’s important to have the coach back with us.”