Olomouc (Czech Republic), Aug 24 (IANS) Sevilla prevailed 1-0 over Sigma Olomouc in the first leg of a Europa League qualifying tie.
The visitors could count themselves lucky to come away with the victory here on Thursday after turning in a sub-par performance, but remain the favorites to qualify for a tournament that they have won a record five times, reports Efe news agency.
Sevilla coach Pablo Machin made some changes to his usual starting 11, notably including just-acquired Maxime Gonalons, and the Spanish side never looked comfortable in the first half.
Disorganisation on the Sevilla back line created plenty of chances for Sigma and the hosts could have led 2-0 at the half if they were better at finishing.
The same lack of coordination plagued Sevilla on the attack.
The hosts diminished in pace and intensity in the second half, yet Sevilla continued to struggle and Sigma threatened on several occasions.
As the match entered the final 25 minutes, Machin made changes, sending in Andre Silva and Jesus Navas to replace Nolito and Aleix Vidal, respectively, and Sevilla’s play improved.
Gonalons forced Sigma goalkeeper Buchta to make a stop in the 75th minute and the resulting corner led to two chances in quick succession for Muriel, but nothing came of it.
As the match appeared destined to end 0-0, a great pass from Silva found Pablo Sarabia in scoring position the forward converted in the 84th minute.