Sevilla failed in their return to the major European competition against the current runners-up in the French league but current bottom of their country’s championship. José Luis Mendilibar’s team gave up a worrying draw against Lens at the Pizjuán, where Sevilla confirmed its problems generating football and also lacked aim. Sevilla dominated a large part of the game, but it went from strength to strength and could only score from set pieces, in the same way that Lens tied, defending well and scaring the counterattack.
Sevilla jumped onto the pitch as expected of him, where from the opening whistle he commanded and attacked a then frightened Lens to open the scoring very soon. However, it was not in play, but thanks to a corner taken by Rakitic and headed almost from behind by Ocampos, with Samba ahead. After taking the lead, Sevilla still had another five minutes of clear superiority, although after a quarter of an hour into the game, José Luis Mendilibar’s team slowed down and allowed the French team to block attacking avenues and step onto the opposite field.
With Sevilla temporizing and having many problems creating play and chances, Lens equalized from a free-kick with a pass from Wahi that Sergio Ramos cut off almost on the line of the area, saving himself from the penalty but causing the Camas center back to give him a very dangerous direct free kick. In his reunion with the Champions League that has given and has given so much to Real Madrid, Ramos now exercises hierarchy in the axis of the Sevilla defense, whose experience and ascendancy in the locker room is transcendental for this team that, after winning seven titles in the Europa League will fight for the difficult qualification for the round of 16 of the highest competition.
Dmitrovic, Juanlu (Jesus Navas, 80 minutes), Gudelj, Sergio Ramos, Pedrosa, Fernando, Sow (Soumare, 63 minutes), Lamela (Lukebakio, 63 minutes), Rakitic (Suso, 74 minutes), Ocampos and others En-Nesyri (Marian, min. 80).
Samba, Gradit, Danso, Medina, Frankowski, Abdul, Mendy (Diouf, 71 minutes), Machado (Haidara, 85 minutes), Sotoca, Fulgini (Thomasson, 76 minutes) and Wahi (Guilavogui, 71 minutes).
Goals: 1-0: min. 9, Ocampos. 1-1: min. 24, Fulgini.
Referee: Tobias Stieler (Germany). Yellow cards to Medina, Sotoca, Samba, Fulgini, Gudelj, Sergio Ramos, Ocampos and Haidara.
Incidents: Match corresponding to the first day of the group stage of the Champions League, played at the Sánchez Pizjuán.
Sergio Ramos did not successfully complete that takedown of Wahi because Dmitrovic did not cover his stick well on the free kick and Fulgini’s shot also bent his hand. Only seven minutes later, with Sevilla partially mentally recovered from such an unexpected blow, it was Samba’s right hand that prevented a double from Ocampos in a point-blank shot from the Argentine. And after that miraculous right hand, Samba snatched the ball from the Argentine in a second attempt by Ocampos, who even congratulated the Congolese goalkeeper.
Sevilla had started authoritatively, but began to deflate in the first half and did not start well in the second either, falling into anxiety and haste in some sections, while Lens began to realize that the home team was half stunned. Sevilla was unable to have possession of the ball and the physicality of the French team also began to take its toll on Mendilibar’s team, which had a hard time generating play and having depth.
When Sevilla was most stuck and the team was crying out for changes, the coach of the Andalusian team opted for more muscle with the entry of Lukebakio and Soumaré. The match had already been going badly for the locals for many minutes and there was no other option, although Lens tried to continue with its work of destruction and standing up to the great favorite for victory. The pressure of the French team and its defense prevented Sevilla from taking the lead again after the hour mark, apart from the visiting goalkeeper, who prevented a second goal in the 70th minute, from Lukebakio, who gave another breath to the Spanish team.
However, Sevilla could not take advantage of that push when they were most focused on the Lens goal, which hoped to resist and get oil from some counterattack. The match was clearly tilted in favor of Sevilla and Suso joined the attack, but while the red and white team still had doubts, it was Dmitrovic who emerged as a hero with two consecutive great saves, with a quarter of an hour left. The Serbian goalkeeper made up for his mistake in the tie, and there was still time for Mariano’s debut, but the former Real Madrid player had no luck in the shot.
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