Sevilla stepped up to the Champions League stage with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach on Tuesday evening.
There were questions lingering around the home side following a poor domestic start but penalties from Kevin Gameiro and Ever Banega and a first Sevilla goal from Yevhen Konoplyanka completed a 3-0 demolition job of their Group D opponents for Unai Emery’s men.
Sevilla’s successful defence of their Europa League crown last season booked their place in the Champions League and, while they were wasteful at times on Tuesday, Monchengladbach had no answer to the Liga side’s pace and movement in the final third.
Spurred on by their attacking full-backs, Sevilla rarely gave their visitors a moment’s rest and should have gone ahead early on when Jose Antonio Reyes blazed over from close range.
Although dominant, Sevilla’s finishing was letting them down, with Gameiro – enjoying a more central role after Carlos Bacca’s close-season departure – wasting three fine opportunities.
The breakthrough did eventually come via the France international, who converted a 47th-minute penalty, but he then hit a second onto the crossbar shortly after. Luck did not desert Sevilla 24 minutes from time, though, as Banega coolly swept home the game’s third spot-kick and Konoplyanka added a third late on to complete a convincing win.
Monchengladbach coach Lucien Favre spiced things up pre-match by blasting Sevilla’s perceived play-acting when the two sides met in the Europa League last term and, perhaps as a result of those words, the Spaniards looked fired up right from the start and should have scored inside four minutes.
Vitolo struck the post from 18 yards and Reyes inexplicably sliced over the open goal from eight yards.
Despite such promise, Sevilla’s commitment to attack occasionally left them open at the back and the visitors almost capitalised in the 16th minute – Ibrahima Traore firing just wide after collecting Raffael’s cut-back.
That chance was little more than a warning, though, as Sevilla swiftly took control again and the lively Gameiro spurned the hosts’ next clear-cut opportunity 14 minutes later, heading Reyes’ teasing cross into the side-netting.
Although a constant nuisance to the Monchengladbach defence, Gameiro was not having any luck in front of goal.
The former Paris Saint-Germain attacker smashed a half-volley over from close range in the 35th minute, before then seeing a left-footed effort saved by Yann Sommer as the first half drew to a close.
Sevilla’s start to the second half caught Monchengladbach napping, the home side taking the lead within two minutes as Gameiro finally got the better of Sommer, finding the top-right corner from the penalty spot after Vitolo was tripped by the Swiss goalkeeper.
Vitolo caused havoc again a few moments later, darting into the area and luring Roel Brouwers into a clumsy foul for a second penalty in quick succession, only for Gameiro to smash his kick onto the crossbar.
The visitors rarely threatened to restore parity and Sevilla effectively wrapped things up in the 66th minute, as Tony Jantschke tripped Gameiro and Banega made no mistake from 12 yards.
Shortly after replacing local hero Reyes, Konoplyanka wrapped things up with a fluke effort from out wide on the right flank, compounding a forgettable night for Sommer and Monchengladbach.