Estoril Praia suffered defeat on their UEFA Europa League group stage debut, succumbing 2-1 to Sevilla FC.
Sevilla showed why they are one of this year's much-fancied contenders, proving their strength in depth with the game-changing introductions of Kevin Gameiro and Ivan Rakitić from the bench after Estoril's Bruno Miguel had wiped out Víctor Machín's opener. Gameiro went on to hit the winner.
The home side's nerves were evident at the start. Estoril goalkeeper Vagner Silva denied a clean-through Carlos Bacca before Marko Marin wriggled free and shaved a post in the opening 15 minutes. The onslaught continued and Mano's goal-line clearance denied Bacca the chance to give the visitors a half-time lead. Sebá's sliced shot from distance was as good as it got for Estoril.
A Marin-inspired Sevilla broke the deadlock just before the hour mark, the German midfielder following up an excellent dribble with a fine assist to let Machín clip the ball over the outrushing Silva. Estoril's response, though, was immediate, Bruno Miguel knocking in after Evandro had evaded Javi Varas and squared for his team-mate.
Unai Emery had the luxury of possessing two international talents waiting in the wings, and Sevilla's super-subs duly arrived to steal the show. A free-kick from gifted playmaker Rakitić was denied by Silva before Gameiro snatched back Sevilla's lead with a powerful right-footed angled drive in the 77th minute. Silva was powerless to stop it, and Sevilla secured a perfect start in Group H.
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