UEFA Cup holders Sevilla FC remain on course to defend their crown after Aleksandr Kerzhakov's goal on the stroke of half-time sealed a comfortable 3-0 aggregate victory against FC Steaua Bucuresti to see them through to the last 16.
Although trailing 2-0 from the first leg, the Romanian outfit lacked urgency in the opening exchanges at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán stadium, and José Luis Martí went close to extending Sevilla's advantage midway through the half but contrived to miss the target from close range. It finally awoke Cosmin Olaroiu's side from their torpor. Banel Nicolita was denied by a fine stop from Andrés Palop, who was soon in acrobatic mode to tip Valentin Badea's long-range effort over the crossbar. Yet just as the away fans' hopes of an unlikely comeback began to rise, Sevilla struck.
The first leg had effectively hinged on Christian Poulsen's demoralising opener moments before the interval, and the Spanish team repeated the feat in Andalusia as Kerzhakov headed Daniel Alves's arcing cross beyond Cornel Cornea in the Steaua goal. It left the visitors, semi-finalists last season, needing to score three to go through, but this never looked on the cards as Sevilla sat back and played the percentages. Olaroiu's men did muster a late rally, though, with Badea and Nicolita both spurning excellent chances. It was not Steaua's night.
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