A remarkable two-minute cameo from Kepa Blanco helped guide Sevilla FC into the UEFA Cup semi-finals as they completed a 5-2 aggregate victory in Russia. The precocious striker was introduced midway through the half with Juande Ramos' side trailing at the Petrovski stadium, equalised and was then sent off as both teams ended the game with ten men.
After a meandering first half, the game sparked to life five minutes after the restart when Young-Min Hyun gave the home team some hope of overturning the 4-1 first-leg deficit with a well-taken goal. That led to some nervy moments for Sevilla until Kepa restored calm in heavy snow in St Petersburg. But his joy was short-lived as he received his marching orders within 60 seconds of scoring and was quickly joined in the dressing rooms by Zenit's Ivica Križanac. Daniel then missed from the penalty spot but it mattered not as Sevilla cruised through.
It brought a disappointing end to a game that had started promisingly for the home team. Despite missing Andrei Arshavin, Erik Hagen and Velice Sumulikoski through suspension, Zenit adapted better to difficult playing conditions and Aleksandr Kerzhakov provided an early warning with a free-kick that flashed just wide of Andrés Palop's right-hand post. The Sevilla goalkeeper was called into action twice towards the end of the half, first holding Kerzkahov's low strike, then pushing Oleg Vlasov's effort around the post on 40 minutes.
Zenit could have reduced the arrears in first-half added time but unmarked, defender Pavel Mares contrived to turn a close-range header just wide. A goal would have provided a major fillip at that stage, but the Russian side did not have to wait long after the restart to gain exactly that when Hyun Young-Min steered Križanac's pass in. Ramos responded by replacing Javi Navarro with Kepa 15 minutes later and soon reaped reward when the youngster restored the three-goal cushion.
His cameo was soon over as he was dismissed for gesturing at referee Stefano Farina, and a minute later Zenit defender Križanac also saw red after a reckless challenge on Vicenzo Maresca. Sevilla could have secured victory on the night from the penalty spot five minutes later but Daniel saw his effort saved, as they were forced to settle for a draw.
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