Sevilla FC start 2018 off on the right foot, securing a comfortable victory against Cádiz CF thanks to a solid first-half display which saw the Nervionenses attack with speed and determination early on. Vincenzo Montella's debut as Sevilla FC manager proved motivation enough for what was a strong starting eleven (despite Segunda División opposition). Sevilla finished the game in the first-half, and though Sergio Rico needed to save a penalty late on in the second, the visitors closed the game out well.
Though no conclusions can be drawn from just one match, Sevilla FC's first appearance under Vincenzo Montella saw many things done right. Sevilla - with N'Zonzi returning as a starter - played comfortably and with effective pressing, dynamism and speed. The deadlock was already broken nine minutes in, after Banega set up Nolito to fire home from the left hand side of the area. A fierce strike was enough to beat Yánez at his near post.
Sevilla came out incisive, direct and quick
The early advantage gave Sevilla room to breathe, but far from taking their foot off the accelerator, the Nervionenses looked to do more damage. It wouldn't be long before they widened the gap - this time, a sublime long ball forward from Kjaer set up Navas to fire home a second away goal.
Sevilla looked for more before the break. Nolito hit the woodwork and Kjaer went close, and Sevilla looked impressive - strong in possession, quick in transition, though just with a lack of conviction in the final third. The deadlock stayed at two when the half-time whistle came.
Sevilla closed out the game well, even if a Sergio Rico penalty save was needed to keep Cádiz at bay
After the restart the game followed a similar pattern. Muriel had a clear chance to make it three but was denied by Yánez. Taking advantage of missed opportunities, Cádiz came out fighting to find a goal that would put them right back in the tie. However, their efforts showed more heart than head. Sergio Rico did well to keep the locals at bay, being called upon on more than one occasion to keep a clean sheet. Just 7 minutes from time, Rico even needed to tip a Salvi penalty onto the post to round off his fine performance.
Sevilla will go back home with memories of a convincing first-half that has put the Nervionenses in control of the Copa del Rey tie. Thoughts will now turn to Saturday's Seville Derby, which will require every ounce of Sevillista passion and conviction in what will undoubtedly be a hotly-contested battle.