Sevilla's Europa League pedigree was once again on display in Nervión on Thursday and will allow Sampaoli's side to go to Turkey ahead in the tie. After a first half of inaccuracy, the second half was quite different, the team calmed down and also took advantage of two chances to score against the Turkish team, who at times showed a lot of desire but were unable to deal with a solid Sevilla side in the final stages of the game. The goals from Joan Jordán and Lamela, both second-half additions to the side, allow them to face both the return leg and Sunday's crucial league fixture with optimism.
Sevilla found it hard to get into the game, as the Turks soon made clear their preference for direct football and quick transitions. In the first quarter of an hour, they had three chances to take the lead. Winger Kadioglu, one of their key players, was the first to test Dmitrovic, and shortly afterwards, taking advantage of a throw-in that caught Sevilla off guard, Crespo crossed from the left and Dmitrovic appeared again, miraculously, to rob Joshua King of the header.
In a similar move, Enner Valencia almost headed in King's cross midway through the first half. Meanwhile, Sevilla were trying to create a build-up against a Fenerbahçe side who were well positioned and, above all, strong in defence, preventing Bryan Gil's persistent runs from going deep.
Dmitrovic was the standout performer for Sevilla in the first half.
However, as the minutes passed, the visitors' pressure eased off and the game became more evenly matched. The only clear chance of the first half for the hosts came from a set-piece, with Rakitic's long-range free-kick going wide, but forcing Altay Bayindir to turn the ball behind for a corner.
Jorge Jesus' men had another chance later on, with King's one-on-one strike against Dmitrovic on the half-hour mark proving the Serbian to be his side's best player in the first half. And on the stroke of half-time, Kadioglu's cross from the right was headed over the bar by the Norway international Joshua King. A difficult first half for Sevilla who, on the upside, managed to reach half-time with the score level and looking for improvement in the next 45 minutes.
The second half was very different and Sampaoli's men were able to take advantage.
Sampaoli's team clicked, as he opted to withdraw the booked Telles and brought on Joan Jordán for the second half. The team soon made their presence felt in Altay's area, with a cross from Navas that En-Nesyri just about got to but failed to convert. Shortly after, it was Óliver who got the delivery in and Nianzou with a great header that the Turkish goalkeeper kept out with his fist.
Sevilla came closer and were finally rewarded in the eleventh minute of the second half, in a long attacking move down the left, which after several rebounded shots allowed Jordán to strike from the edge of the area. With the help of a deflection by an opposition defender, the low shot was impossible for Altay to save and the score was 1-0. Sampaoli reshuffled the midfield, bringing on Ocampos and Lamela and withdrawing Óliver and Bryan, as Fenerbahçe looked to be tiring.
After Arao's powerful shot from the edge of the area went over, Valencia again came up against a great Dmitrovic. First with a shot from a corner that had some power and forced the Serbian to save with his legs. And then, almost immediately, Kadioglu's dangerous cross from the right was met by the Ecuadorian, whose shot was well saved by the goalkeeper. The Sevilla team held their nerve, and also knew how to take advantage of the very next chance to finish off Fenerbahçe on the night. An inside ball to Rakitic, who put it back to Lamela who, with plenty of composure, slotted the ball through the only possible gap to double the lead.
Earlier, Ocampos had tried a curling shot that was well saved by the keeper. Score was set and Fenerbahçe showed desire but were unable to score in a final stretch that reasserted the improvement in defence. The win raises morale before Sunday's all-important clash with Almeria and an important but not decisive advantage in seven days' time in Istanbul.