Sevilla with­stand Lyon as­sault, reach last 16

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Sevilla are through to the last 16 of the Cham­pi­ons League for the first time in seven years af­ter soak­ing up the pres­sure to draw 0-0 away to Lyon yes­ter­day. Ly­on­who lost 1-0 in Seville in Septem­ber and trailed the Spa­niards by three points-needed to win by two clear goals to go through at Sevilla’s ex­pense from Group H.

But they could not find a way through, with Corentin Tolisso and Mathieu Val­buena both hit­ting the wood­work in the first half at Parc OL. A big enough de­feat would have seen Sevilla drop down into the Europa League, a com­pe­ti­tion they have won in each of the last three sea­sons, but in­stead it is Lyon who must set­tle for that con­so­la­tion. Sevilla go through in sec­ond place be­hind Ju­ven­tus, who beat Di­namo Za­greb 2-0 in Turin, and make it four Span­ish clubs in the knock­out stage with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid al­ready hav­ing qual­i­fied. Lyon were hop­ing to join Paris Saint-Ger­main and Monaco and make it three French rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the last 16 for the first time, and had been boosted by the pres­ence of goal­keeper An­thony Lopes in their start­ing line-up. The Por­tuguese in­ter­na­tional was taken to hos­pi­tal af­ter fire­crack­ers were thrown onto the pitch dur­ing Lyon’s Ligue 1 game at Metz at the week­end, which was sub­se­quently aban­doned.

Lopes re­port­edly didn’t sleep for two nights af­ter the Metz game and suf­fered headaches as well as a feel­ing of pres­sure in­side his ears, but he was passed fit to play. He was beaten by Vi­tolo in the 19th minute but there was relief for the hosts as the Spain winger’s ef­fort came back off the far post. Lopes could also have con­ceded a penalty when he brought down Vi­tolo in­side the box but Swedish ref­eree Jonas Eriks­son waved away Sevilla’s ap­peals. Oth­er­wise Lyon dom­i­nated the first half on a misty night, set­ting the tone when a first­time ef­fort by Val­buena had to be turned over by an alert Ser­gio Rico in­side three min­utes.

The French club had a huge ap­peal for a penalty of their own mid­way through the first pe­riod as Val­buena went down un­der a Mar­i­ano chal­lenge that be­gan right on the edge of the box but again the ref­eree gave noth­ing. Tolisso headed against the bar from a Rafael cross and Val­buena struck the cross­bar with a fine first-time shot af­ter a good run by Tolisso as Sevilla with­stood the pres­sure. Lyon had more than 20 at­tempts on goal and the ma­jor­ity of the pos­ses­sion but they lacked the sub­tlety to break down the op­po­si­tion de­fence and clear chances were at a pre­mium in the sec­ond half.

Mouc­tar Di­akhaby headed wide from a Na­bil Fekir cor­ner and Sevilla held on to en­sure a first ap­pear­ance in the last 16 since 2009/10. —AFP

— AP

LYON: Sevilla’s Adil Rami clears the ball dur­ing the Group H Cham­pi­ons League soc­cer match be­tween Lyon and Sevilla at the Lyon sta­dium in Decines, near Lyon, France, yes­ter­day.

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