Alejandro Alfaro struck twice as Sevilla FC overwhelmed FC Karpaty Lviv to hit the front in Group J, ending their opponents' slender UEFA Europa League ambitions in the process.
Alfaro capped a bright start with the opening goal on nine minutes and his second and another from Luca Cigarini left the hosts cruising at half-time. Álvaro Negredo made sure of the points six minutes after the restart – not that there was ever much doubt – and Gregorio Manzano's side will seal progress if they beat Paris Saint-Germain FC on 2 December.
The Karpaty camp arrived in Spain insisting they had not just come for the visit – in hindsight they will perhaps wish they were. The Ukrainian side were soon swimming against the tide as Alfaro rose to head in Negredo's cross. It was a sign of things to come – Karpaty looked vulnerable every time they lost possession; which was often.
Incredibly, however, Oleg Kononov's team almost restored parity midway through the first half after a flowing move at odds with everything else they contributed, but Abdoulay Konko brilliantly blocked Oleg Golodyuk's shot. That was as good as it got for Karpaty and on 31 minutes they were 2-0 down as Cigarini rifled in a free-kick via the crossbar.
The home side, beaten 5-0 by FC Barcelona on Saturday, were further ahead before half-time when Negredo's cheeky chip came back off the bar, perfectly for Alfaro to nod in the rebound. Negredo was himself the beneficiary of a favourable bounce soon after the restart, tapping in after José Carlos' shot was palmed into his path.
The confidence was coursing through the home ranks – perhaps too much as Negredo was sent clear only to send his cute chip into Andriy Tlumak's hands. Indeed, complacency set in at both ends for Sevilla but the damage had been done, Artem Fedetskiy hitting the bar late on as Karpaty were denied even a goal.