Sevilla FC dug deep to overcome SC Freiburg 2-0 and consolidate their position atop Group H, ending the hosts' ambitions in the process.
The result opened the door for FC Slovan Liberec, who overcame Estoril Praia 2-1, to replace Freiburg in second spot. Unable to capitalise on sustained spells of pressure, the Bundesliga side paid a high price when Vicente Iborra scored against the run of play. With the clock ticking down, Raul Rusescu put the result beyond doubt with an assured finish.
Knowing only a win would guarantee their progress to the round of 32, Freiburg did most of the early running. A clever cross from playmaker Vladimír Darida should arguably have provided the opening goal, but Pavel Krmaš headed straight at Javi Varas. It was a routine save for the Sevilla goalkeeper, who then had to be at his best to tip Darida's venomous free-kick round a post.
The Czech Republic midfielder came to the fore again shortly after the half-hour, sending over a wicked cross that left Varas flat-footed and clipped the top of the crossbar. On the back foot for long stretches of the first half, Sevilla emerged from their shells when Diego Perotti bust forward and warmed the palms of Oliver Baumann. The same player embarked on another mazy run moments later before centring for Iborra to fire in at the front post.
Freiburg were almost gifted a route back into the match when Varas's clearance was charged down by Admir Mehmedi and ricocheted into the path of Gelson Fernandes, who blasted over from ten metres. Chances were at a premium from then on, with Jairo Samperio hitting the post when one-on-one with Baumann, before Rusescu held his nerve to settle the contest.
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