Sevilla defeated Apoel Thursday at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán in round 2 of Group A in the Europa League by 1-0.
Sevilla’s coach Julen Lopetegui rested 10 players that started their last weekend Primera Liga game against Real Sociedad while Apoel’s German coach reverted to a back four with five players across the midfield.
Sevilla took charge of the game from the first whistle and pegged Apoel back in their final third of the pitch. Despite their possession, Sevilla managed to prise open Apoel’s backline just once when Munir’s low cross found the unmarked Chicharito to open the score in the 17th minute.
All Apoel had to show for in the first half was a speculative effort by Pavlovic that flew high.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first with the Spaniards controlling play but rarely troubling Apoel’s goalkeeper Belec.
As the half progressed Apoel enjoyed a five-minute spell where they pushed further up the field in search of the equalizer but first Jacolis failed to find the target from inside the area and then Al Taamari lost his footing as he was about to race clear on goal.
After Apoel’s brief ‘rally’ Sevilla regrouped and took back control of the game and saw out the final twenty minutes with consummate ease.
It was a gallant display from Apoel but they were up against one of the better teams of the Spanish league and the difference in quality was all too obvious to see even though Sevilla fielded a second-string side.
In the other group A game, Qarabag FK picked up their first points after defeating Dudelange by 4-0 with three goals coming in the first half through Zubir in the 11th minute Michel on the half-hour and de Oliveira in the 37th minute. Quintana added a fourth in the second half.
Sevilla leads the group with 6 points with Qarabag and Dudelange on three while Apoel remain without a point.