For the seventh game running, Jorge Sampaoli decided to alter his formation and the tinkering with his Sevilla side showed in an exciting but sometime disjointed performance against Lyon, despite the win.
The Chilean continues to win plaudits for his willingness to experiment with tactical variations and a penchant to attack, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of much-needed victories.
Against the French side, the Andalusians were often on the back foot in the opening exchanges as their back four struggled to get to grips with the pace of Maxwel Cornet and the invention of Nabil Fekir.
It was the latter who came closest to opening the scoring after 10 minutes, his venomous, dipping drive beating Sergio Rico all ends up but crashing against the crossbar.
Sevilla’s defence were exposed by the same player again just four minutes later as he easily broke the offside trap, however his dangerous cross flashed across goal and to safety.
That appeared to be enough of a warning for the Andalusians who started to move the ball quicker and their response was swift.
Wisdom Ben Yedder’s towering header was ruled out for an offside infringement earlier in the move but it invigorated the crowd at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan and had Sampaoli up off the bench and encouraging his side forward.
Samir Nasri’s experience was clear for all to see despite trying to work in a hugely congested midfield.
Bruno Genesio’s 3-5-1-1 gave an indication that his side had come to Spain to not get beaten rather than to go for the win – but his defence would be undone shortly after half time.
Anthony Lopes flapped at a cross he didn’t necessarily need to come for and Luciano Vietto’s header back across goal allowed Ben Yedder to nod Sevilla in front.
As is Sampaoli’s style, he invited his side forward in the hope of a quick second but, having left themselves light at the back, they were almost immediately undone by the lively Cornet.
The best and worst of Sevilla in the space of two minutes.
Nasri would continue to dictate the host’s forward momentum and thrust as the game became more stretched and would earn a 67th minute penalty that Vietto would send skyward.
The young Argentinian had actually been clean through just three minutes prior but was unable to beat Lopes – and when he did so some six minutes after his penalty miss, his shot was cleared off of the line.
Twenty minutes of pure football theatre would follow, attack against defence as Sevilla went all out for the win.
On another night they could’ve had four but instead had to settle for just the one.
– Fact sheet:
1 – Sevilla: Sergio Rico; Mariano, Mercado (Kolodziejczak, m.87), Nico Pareja, Escudero; N’Zonzi; Franco Vázquez (Iborra, m.59), Nasri, Vitolo; Ben Yedder (Sarabia, m.82), Vietto.
0 – Olympique Lyon: Lopes; Yanga-Mbiwa (Valbuena, m.70) Nkolou, Morel; Gaspar (Ghezzal, m.79), Tolisso, Gonalons, Sergi Darder, Rybus; Fekir (Kalulu, m.70), Cornet.
Goal: 1-0, M.52: Ben Yedder.
Referee: Bas Nijhuis (Netherlands).
Yellow cards: Nico Pareja (m.56), Mercado (m.84), Gaspar (m.71), Nkoulou (m.73), Cornet (m.86).
Ramón Sanchez Pizjuan (Sevilla): 37.000.
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