Lyon 0-0 Sevilla: Sampaoli's men squeeze into last 16 with draw

The Spanish side managed to keep their opponents at bay to grab the point necessary for qualification, although they were made to suffer with a series of close calls.

  Sevilla have qualified for the knockout phase of the Champions League for the first time since the 2009-10 season after holding on to a 0-0 draw at Lyon in Group H on Wednesday.

The LaLiga club needed to avoid losing by two goals or more to prevent their hosts pipping them to second spot behind Juventus, and although Lyon put them under considerable pressure, they just about did enough to keep Bruno Genesio's men at bay in foggy France.

Despite Lyon being "seriously shaken emotionally" after an exploding firecracker during their match with Metz put goalkeeper Anthony Lopes in hospital on Saturday, their need for an all-out-attack approach contributed to an enthralling and frantic first half.

The frame of the goal was struck three times before the break and both sides were controversially denied a penalty.

Sevilla, whose coach Jorge Sampaoli was serving a touchline ban, struggled to contain Lyon's fluid attack, but their dogged defending in numbers proved particularly difficult to break through after half-time.

Ultimately, Sevilla's defensive work secured the point and confirmed their passage, meaning their Europa League dominance comes to an end after three successive titles, while Lyon will be hoping to add that trophy to their own collection as they finish third in the group.

Lyon looked every inch a team on a mission during the first half, pressing high and putting Sevilla under pressure throughout.

The hosts carved out their first opportunity inside three minutes, as Mathieu Valbuena met Rafael's squared pass on the edge of the box and Sergio Rico tipped it over.

But Lyon's insistence on playing high up the pitch almost resulted in their downfall in the 20th minute, with the post denying Vitolo after Sergio Escudero released the winger in behind Rafael.

Both sides then had penalty shouts ignored in the next two minutes, as Mariano sent Valbuena tumbling before Vitolo was denied a certain goal when tripped by Lopes.

Sevilla looked a threat on the break, but they should have been behind a few moments later – Corentin Tolisso's header from Rafael's cross bouncing up off the turf and hitting the crossbar.

The bar came to Sevilla's rescue again just before the break, keeping Valbuena's 16-yard curling effort out.

The pattern of the match remained much the same after the interval, as Lyon controlled the tempo and the Spaniards looked to absorb pressure.

Sevilla did cause Lyon a rare moment of panic after an hour, though, with Escudero doing well on the left before playing a low cross into the goalmouth that Jeremy Morel had to put behind with Mariano lurking.

Lyon had a second penalty claim with 12 minutes to go, but the referee correctly turned down their protests as substitute Nabil Fekir tripped over his own feet.

Sevilla did well to take the sting out of proceedings towards the end and, although Clement Grenier's 87th-minute header went close, the visitors held on for what was a hard-earned point.

Read 592 times Last modified on Thursday, 08 December 2016 04:05