Sevilla beat Turkish Fenerbahçe 2-0 in the first leg of the Europa League round of 16 played at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, where, after a bad first half in which the rival forgave, the Spanish team reacted in time, was superior in the second and, with goals from Joan Jordán at the beginning and from Argentina’s Erik Lamela almost at the endachieved a good income for the return in Istanbul.
After a weak first half for the team coached by the Argentine Jorge Sampaoli, in which the Serbian goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic was the protagonist by aborting several clear chances from the Turkish team, Sevilla changed their mentality in the second, took a step forward and beat Fenerbahçe with goals from two men who came out of refreshmentJordan’s by deflecting his shot from a defender, in minute 56, and Lamela’s, to a pass from Croatian Ivan Rakitic, in minute 85.
In the second visit to Sánchez-Pizjuán from Fenerbahçe, who then lost 3-2, but eliminated the Andalusians on penalties in the round of 16 of the 2007-08 ‘Champions’, they faced Sevilla at their worst moment, in the middle of a fight for remaining in LaLiga, and a Turkish team, second in their league, who entered this round as the undefeated champion of group B (4 wins and 2 draws).
After going through difficulties in the previous tie against PSV despite going down 3-0 in the first leg (they lost 2-0 in Eindhoven) and making a fool of themselves on Saturday in the League against Atlético de Madrid, with a tough 6-1 defeat, the Sevilla, who still have many casualties behind them, face this new test with the challenge of raising their heads, giving a good image and gaining confidence.
Sampaoli lined up his only pure central defender, the Frenchman Nianzou, in a back five, along with Navas and the Argentine Acuña as full-backs and the Serbian Gudelj and the Brazilian Telles converted into defenders, in an eleven to which the Brazilian Fernando returnedsanctioned for the League, with Bryan Gil as a left-handed winger and En-Nesyri as a forward.
Meanwhile, Jorge Jesus opted for two of his offensive mainstays, the Ecuadorian Enner Valencia, his scorer with 26 goals so far this year, and the Norwegian Joshua King, as the Belgian Michy Batshuayi, is out due to discomfort in the last game of the Turkish league, was a substitute.
The duel started even, although it was uneven in favor of the Turks due to the serious problems behind the Spanish team before the speed of the visiting attackers, who warned up to three times in the first quarter of an hour with a shot from Kadioglu that Dmitrovic cleared, a cross from the Portuguese Crespo that the Serbian goalkeeper took Valencia’s head off and a distant attempt from the Ecuadorian , seeing the forward goalkeeper, who narrowly went wide.
The Turkish team dominated in arrivals and occasions, as in a one-on-one that Dmitrovic took from King (m.28) after a pass from Valencia. Sevilla never had control and only touched the goal in a free-kick from the Croatian Rakitic that was poisoned and saved by Altay in the middle of the first half, in which Fenerbahce was able to score just before the break, but King, alone, headed above the stringer.
At the restart, with the entry of Jordán for Telles -who had a card- and Fernando now as a centre-back, Sevilla came out with more rhythm and created more problems for their rival, which translated into two good options in a row for En-Nesyri, who narrowly missed a cross from Navas that Akaydin deflected, and Nianzou, but his header was well cleared by Altay.
This new face of the sevillistas after passing through the changing rooms soon paid off, Jordán scored 1-0 with a strong shot from the edge of the area that touched the Brazilian Willian Arao and misled his goalkeeper. The goal further reassured a Sevilla that, with very dynamic Navas, Acuña or Bryan Gil, was prevailing over a now more lost Fernerbahçe.
Jorge Jesus made a move, giving entry to Uruguayan winger Rossi for Crespo and striker Batshuayi for King. The Istanbul team tried to react, but ran into a great Dmitrovic againwho, after halfway through this half, prevented the goal in two almost successive actions by Valencia and then cut off a dangerous pass into the area coming out at Rossi’s feet.
Seville, which refreshed his attack with Argentine wingers Lucas Ocampos and Erik LamelaHe made inaccuracies, but in this second part he had more solidity and depth. In the absence of 5 minutes of the 90 regulations, he also took advantage of a mistake by a Fenerbahçe somewhat deranged by the rush to score the 2-0 through Lamela, after an action in the area and a good pass from Rakiticand acquire a clearer advantage for the return in Istanbul.
2 – Seville: Dimitrovic; Jesús Navas, Nianzou, Gudelj, Telles (Jordán, m.46), Acuña (Suso, m.86); Oliver Torres (Ocampos, m.70), Fernando, Rakitic, Bryan Gil (Lamela, m.70); En-Nesyri (Rafa Mir, m.86).
0 – Fenerbahce: Tall and; Kadioglu, Aziz, Samet, Szalai; Kahveci (Güler, m.87), Willian Arao, Lincoln Henrique (Osayi-Samuel, m.82), Crespo (Rossi, m.67); Valencia (Joao Pedro, m.82), King (Batshuayi, m.67).
Goals: 1-0, M.56: Jordan. 2-0, M.85: Lamella.
Referee: Francois Letexier (France). He admonished the locals Alex Telles (m.3) and Bryan Gil (m.48 +), and on the visiting side Kadioglu (m.48 +) and an assistant coach Jorge Jesus (m.57).
Incidents: First leg of the round of 16 of the Europa League played at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán stadium in front of 24,480 spectators, including nearly 1,300 Turkish fans.