Barca’s 2-1 loss to minnows Leganes earlier on Wednesday night gave Real an opportunity to go top of LaLiga but Sevilla were in no mood to be obliging hosts as they ran out 3-0 winners, scoring three times in an incredible opening half.
Andre Silva bagged a brace and the in-form Wissam Ben Yedder also got on the scoresheet while Real saw Luka Modric’s second-half effort disallowed after consultation with the video assistant referee.
It was a first defeat of the season for Real at a ground where they have lost on their last four visits in the league.
Two nights on from being named the The Best FIFA Men’s Player at a glitzy awards ceremony in London, Modric was named in Real’s starting line-up for a match that featured several cooling breaks.
But the Croatian had minimal impact in the early stages as Sevilla dominated possession.
It was therefore unsurprising when they took a 17th-minute lead after the ball was threaded through for Jesus Navas on the right and the former Manchester City winger squared for Silva to tuck beyond Thibaut Courtois.
With Navas and Silva the architects, Sevilla doubled their lead four minutes later.
Navas broke down the right and though his shot from a tight angle was kept out by Courtois, the rebound fell to Silva, who was just about able to bundle home despite tripping when shooting.
Real nearly narrowed the deficit as Gareth Bale’s strike from just outside the area clattered a post while the goal frame came to their aid later in the half when Franco Vazquez’s piledriver was denied by the crossbar.
Sevilla kept coming forward and duly scored a third in the 39th minute, with Ben Yedder latching on to Vazquez’s header back into the area to volley beyond Courtois after Real had failed to clear their lines from a corner.
It was the Frenchman’s sixth goal in his last three minutes and left Real bereft and with a mountain to climb in the second half.
Modric seemed to give Real a foothold seven minutes after the interval when he beat Sevilla goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik.
However, referee Alejandro Hernandez sent the decision to the VAR system and the goal was chalked off after replays showed Modric had been marginally offside.
Courtois was called into action to keep out Pablo Sarabia’s curling effort while the busy Bale burst clear down the middle only to be denied by an excellent save from Vaclik.
Modric’s poor night ended in the 70th minute after he was replaced by Dani Ceballos, with Real also introducing Lucas Vazquez and Mariano in an effort to take the game to their opponents.
But Real were leaving themselves wide open to the counter-attack, and a long ball forward was collected by Silva, who forced Courtois into action before Franco Vazquez firing wastefully over the bar on the rebound.