A vital European win against Spartak Moscow, which saw Berizzo's side dominate for 78 minutes with goals from Lenglet and Banega. However, an isolated play gave Spartak a chance to grab an equaliser in the last 15 minutes but Sevilla hung on admirably to bag a well-earned win
They had to win and Sevilla FC did just that this Wednesday in the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán. The first 78 minutes saw the home side dominate, successfully avoiding the same counters that did such damage in the away fixture. Lenglet and Banega put Sevilla ahead, but 12 minutes from time, the finish became all too tense with a goal from Zé Luís. With so much to play for and with the Russian pressing harder than ever, Sevilla needed to pull there socks up to see out the result, and did just that with a Sánchez-Pizjuán filled to the brim with Sevillistas. With the win the Nervionenses return to the qualification spots for the knock-out stages.
Carrera didn't hide his hand and nor did Berizzo, who had his side pressing high up the field from the very first minute. Sevilla's two attacking midfielders, accompanied by Ben Yedder, looked to steal the ball from Spartak high, who were unable to find any space behind Lenglet and Kjaer. A Banega shot that went just wide gave Sevilla a chance to take a very early lead on two minutes and Nolito followed it up with a shot which stung the fists of Selikhov. Fifty-fifties went the way of the home side who looked far more dangerous, despite lacking clinical connections with front-men. The break-through had to eventually come from a set-piece. Banega's floated corner from the right-hand side was met by a powerful header from Lenglet to the near post. Selikhov couldn't keep it out and job number one was done.
Despite tight marking, Lenglet headed Banega's floated corner home
After a period of frantic attacking, Sevilla saw their Russian opponents enter into a period of more possession - the Russians growing into the game before the break but failing to create clear chances for an equaliser. Their best effort came in the form of a direct free-kick, which drew a stunning save from Sergio Rico to send it behind for a corner. Sevilla were grateful for half-time in an intense first 45 minutes which saw the Nervión stands play an important part, too.
The same dynamic reared its head at the start of the second-half, with a Sevilla side looking to rob the Russians of the ball and press high once again. Nolito had a chance to make it two four minutes from the restart, with a stunning ball from Lenglet leaving the forward behind the back-line. The new signing controlled it beautifully, beat two men but dragged his shot millimetres wide. Luckily, just minutes later, Éver Banega gave Sevilla breathing room with a beatiful strike with his left, curling the ball beyond the reach of Selikhov. Much appreciated calm that could have been made even better through Ben Yedder, whose effort needed to be cleared off the Russian line to keep the margin at two.
Ben Yedder's effort needed to be cleared off the Russian line to keep the margin at two
In practically the only attacking moment for the visiting side, Spartak got themselves back into the match. A saved effort from Glushakov - who controlled the ball with his shoulder - fell at the feet of Zé Luís, who made it 2-1. Navas and Krohn-Dehli had already been subbed on by that point (for Sarabia and Banega), and Corchia joined the backline, replacing Mercado with ten minutes to go. The dominance of the first 78 minutes was a distant memory thanks to the tight scoreline but luckily, Spartak were unable to find enough to make it a cruel draw for Sevilla.
In the end, three golden points that put Sevilla back in second position in Group E and keep them within touching distance of Liverpool FC. The group leaders will have to come to Nervión in the penultimate Champions League fixture on the 21st of November, and will have to deal with an ever-present Sevillista faithful if they want any sort of a result.
2. SEVILLA FC: Sergio Rico, Mercado (Corchia, 83), Kjaer, Lenglet, Escudero, Sarabia (Jesús Navas, 74), N'Zonzi, Pizarro, Banega (Kronh-Dehli, 76), Nolito y Ben Yedder.
1. FC SPARTAK MOSCOW: Selikhov, Eschenko (Petkovic, 79), Tasci, Dzhikiya, Kombarov, Fernando, Glushakov, Melgarejo (Zé Luis, 71), Pasalic (Popov, 56), Promes y Luis Adriano.
GOALS: 1-0, minuto 30: Lenglet. 2-0, minuto 58: Banega. 2-1, minuto 78: Zé Luis.
REFEREE: Artur Dias. Yellow cards for Glushakov, Tasci, Dzhikiya and Ben Yedder.