Sevilla coach reveals cancer diagnosis at half-time, players storm back from 3-0 down
Local media report that Berizzo, 48, told Sevilla players of his diagnosis with the team 3-0 down against English Premier League club Liverpool at half-time in their Champions League Group E game on Tuesday.
The team came storming back in the second half, with Guido Pizarro completing the comeback by equalizing in the third minute of added time after Wissam Ben Yedder had scored twice to give the home team hope following a one-sided first-half that saw Liverpool appear set for victory.
After the game, Sevilla issued a statement confirming that Argentinian head coach Berizzo had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“The medical services of Sevilla FC report that the coach of the first team, Eduardo Berizzo, has been diagnosed with an adenocarcinoma of the prostate,” the statement read.
“The future examinations will allow to decide which are the steps to follow regarding their treatment.
“Sevilla FC wants to show their maximum support to their coach at this time and wishes him a speedy recovery.”
Liverpool had seemed destined for the three points at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan when a double from Roberto Firmino and a goal from Sadio Mane gave them a 3-0 lead after half an hour.
However, sustained pressure from the hosts saw the Reds fold spectacularly. French striker Ben Yedder headed home from a free-kick on 51 minutes and added a second from the penalty spot on 60 minutes, before Pizarro scored from close range to make it 3-3.
On sealing the comeback, the Sevilla players rushed over to embrace Berizzo.
Midfielder Ever Banega said after the game that the coach had spurred the team on in their second-half efforts.
"We had to come out with a different attitude for the fans and for the boss, he made us play like that," Banega said.
Berizzo joined Sevilla in the summer, following three years in charge at fellow La Liga team Celta Vigo. His playing career included spells at Marseille in France, and he won 13 caps for the Argentine national team.
He received support for his cancer battle from various sources in the world of football, including former team Marseille and La Liga club Valencia.
We'd like to wish our former player Eduardo Berizzo a full and speedy recovery after this difficult news.— Olympique Marseille (@OM_English) 22 November 2017
Get well soon, "Toto" 🙏 pic.twitter.com/Hjw6eJElxZ
Berizzo will undergo treatment at a later date, the Daily Mail reports. The paper also quotes Sevillainfo as saying that the Argentine has a good chance of making a full recovery as the tumour has been detected early.