Seville (Spain), Aug 10 (IANS) Sevilla Football Club has managed a 1-0 victory over Zalgiris Vilnius in the first leg of their Europa League third-round qualifying tie.
The hosts started well on Thursday, but Zalgiris worked their way into the match and gave Sevilla plenty to think about as the sides look ahead to next week’s second leg, reports Efe.
Sevilla coach Pablo Machin said ahead of the Europa League match that he would be careful not to exhaust his starters ahead of Sunday’s Spanish Super Cup clash with Barcelona.
Even so, the manager fielded a solid 11, including Aleix Vidal, just acquired from Barça, and Sevilla dominated possession from the opening whistle at Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.
Zalgiris goalkeeper Dziugas Bartkus had to be on his game to deny Nolito – twice – and Wissam Ben Yedder in the first 15 minutes.
The visitors withstood the early onslaught and Sevilla appeared to lose steam until Ever Banega’s goal on a direct free kick in the 34th minute, followed minutes later by another opportunity for Nolito.
Zalgiris responded and Tomas Simkovic and Louis Ogana forced Sevilla keeper Tomas Vaclik to make a pair of stops to preserve the lead going into the break.
Vaclik was called on again in the second half, to thwart Liviu Antal.
Machin sent in Pablo Sarabia and Paulo Henrique Ganso with 15 minutes left in a bid to invigorate the attack, but the moves didn’t pay off and the tie remains to be settled in the second leg.