Real Madrid were held to a point against Sevilla on Saturday but Carlo Ancelotti's side will still face Barcelona next weekend as La Liga leaders.
Madrid prepared for the first El Clasico of the season with a battling 1-1 draw at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan where Los Blancos were on course for a second loss of the campaign when David Alaba put through his own net.
Carvajal headed home Toni Kroos’ free-kick to make it 1-1 before ex-Madrid captain Sergio Ramos missed a golden chance in stoppage time to earn new Sevilla manager Diego Alonso victory in his first game in charge.
The 1-1 draw moves Madrid on to 25 points with second and third dplaced Girona and Barcelona playing their respective fixtures on Sunday – against Almeria and Athletic Bilbao – but neither are able to move top ahead of Saturday’s clash at the Olympic Stadium in Catalonia.
Real players were left unhappy by decisions to rule out goals for Fede Valverde and Jude Bellingham, the latter after Sevilla's Lucas Ocampos had gone down hurt with Madrid piling forward.
“The referee did well, he had a good game, he stopped the counter-attack to look after the health of a player, I think he had a high-level game,” Ancelotti told a news conference, perhaps with a hint of sarcasm.
Later the coach explained that only by speaking in this way could he avoid a suspension for revealing his true feelings.
“Irony is the only way [to speak] after this match because I think that if I say what I think about the refereeing I'll receive a lot of games' suspension,” Ancelotti told Real Madrid TV.
“What I like most at the moment is to sit on the Real Madrid bench. So, to avoid suspensions I don't say what I think and I use a bit of irony.”
Madrid faced off against Ramos, 37, who rejoined his boyhood club in September and put in a heroic defensive display at a raucous Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium.
Ramos produced a stunning block as Alaba tried to turn home from close range and later squared off with his Madrid successor, Antonio Rudiger, squeezing the German's cheeks.
Sevilla goalkeeper Orjan Nyland saved Vinicius Junior's volley before the break, one of Madrid's clearest chances.
The goalkeeper then denied Rodrygo early in the second half with a superb save with his legs, as the visitors hunted for the breakthrough.
Ramos, who also elbowed Bellingham in the head and earned a yellow card for a foul on the England international in the second half.
But the deadlock was broken when Alaba, under pressure from Youssef En-Nesyri, accidentally turned Ocampos' cross into his own net with 15 minutes remaining.
However the Andalusians were not able to hold on to it for long, with Carvajal heading Toni Kroos's free-kick home at the near post four minutes later.
Tempers frayed in the final stages as Vinicius pushed Nyland, who fell to the floor theatrically, sparking a shoving match.
“It was a spectacular game,” added Ancelotti, whose team take on Sporting Braga in the Champions League on Tuesday before Barca next weekend. “It was competitive, with intensity. We played better in the first half than in the second.
“We started well, but we didn't make the most of the chances we had. In the second half we struggled a bit more and Sevilla were more intense. The result is fair.”