Sevilla climb continues
Sevilla moved to within a point of UEFA Europa League Group J leaders PSG after easing past Karpaty Lviv, who slumped to their third successive defeat.
Frederic Kanoute headed home the only goal of the game in the 34th minute while Karpaty, who created little to trouble Sevilla goalkeeper Andres Palop in a match of few chances, finished with 10 men following the late sending-off of Viacheslav Checher.
Sevilla, having been knocked out of the Champions League play-offs by Braga, began their Europa League campaign with a potentially damaging 1-0 home defeat to PSG, but since Gregorio Manzano took over as coach the Spanish outfit have now recorded 1-0 away wins over Borussia Dortmund and now Karpaty. Tonight's victory means Sevilla are now just a point adrift of pacesetters PSG and two in front of third-placed Dortmund, who conceded a late equaliser in a 1-1 home draw with the French side this evening.
Sevilla, the 2006 and 2007 UEFA Cup winners, started well at the Ukrayina Stadion and almost took the lead in the eighth minute when Julien Escude hit the woodwork. The French centre-back climbed highest in the area to reach a free-kick and he was unfortunate to see his looping header crash back off the crossbar with Karpaty goalkeeper Vitaly Rudenko beaten.
Sevilla need not have worried, though, as half-an-hour later they found themselves in front, and that goal would prove to be the match-winning strike. Diego Perotti's right-wing corner was flicked on at the near post by Escude and Kanoute, standing unmarked in the middle, powered home an unstoppable header from five yards out.
Sevilla would end up keeping their lead relatively comfortably, although they suffered a brief scare in the 61st minute when Palop spilled the ball after appearing to collide with Karpaty substitute Serghiy Kuznetsov. Fortunately for the visitors, though, Escude just managed to clear the loose ball before Kuznetsov could roll it into an empty net.
With around 20 minutes to go Danilo Avelar turned and fired in a shot from the edge of the area, but it was straight at Palop. Karpaty would not come any closer than that in the remaining time and their fading hopes were virtually extinguished in the 88th minute when Checher was shown a second yellow card for blocking off Luis Fabiano`s attempt to run onto a through ball.