Sevilla FC are on course to make their second appearance in the European Champion Clubs' Cup – 50 years on from the first – after defeating AEK Athens FC 2-0 in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium.
Second-half goals from Luis Fabiano and Frédéric Kanouté earned the Spanish club a strong advantage to take into the second leg in Athens on 28 August.
Sevilla on top
The hosts made the early running with AEK goalkeeper Moretto being forced into early saves from Jesús Navas and Kanouté. After further chances were missed by Diego Capel, Ivica Dragutinović and Luis Fabiano, Sevilla coach Juande Ramos decided to shuffle his pack at half-time – Renato and Seydou Keita being the beneficiaries of his changes.
Navas the provider
The trick worked when Luis Fabiano turned in Navas's cross two minutes after the interval, although his strike stung the visitors – who had graced the group stage last season – into immediate action. Rivaldo led the charge, his free-kick being kept out by Andrés Palop. AEK's cause was further hindered on 67 minutes, however, as Navas supplied the second goal too, this time for Kanouté. The Greek team continued to push forward and Lorenzo Serra Ferrer's men were unfortunate not to reduce the deficit late on. Júlio César hit the woodwork with eight minutes remaining, before Dániel Tőzsér prompted a desperate late stop from Palop.