Sevilla FC eased into a historic European clash with local rivals Real Betis Balompié after edging out NK Maribor in their UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg.
Alternating attacking gusto with defensive lapses early on, Sevilla completed the win their overall control merited thanks to strikes from José Antonio Reyes – with a healthy helping hand from Maribor goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovič – and Kevin Gameiro. After Sevilla switched off once more at the death, the visitors from Slovenia grabbed a consolation through Dare Vršič.
Roared on by an Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán faithful revelling in a return to European knockout football for the first time since 2011 – and the chance of a potential round of 16 meeting with neighbours Betis – the hosts tore into their opponents. In the very first minute the lively Gameiro stung the palms of Handanovič, while six minutes later a whipped effort from Reyes was denied a place in the top corner only by the custodian's outstretched glove.
Despite their dominance, however, Sevilla were fortunate that early carelessness from both captain Ivan Rakitić and No1 Javi Varas went unpunished, while their opener – which eventually came on the stroke of half-time – also owed plenty to good fortune. Hunting down the visiting keeper, Handanovič's clearance rebounded off the back of Reyes and into the net.
The weight lifted by breaking the deadlock, the Liga team's supremacy continued after the interval and was rewarded by a fine second goal on 59 minutes. Latching onto a flicked pass from substitute Vicente Iborra, Gameiro drove into the area before dispatching a drive into the bottom corner. With one eye perhaps on a first-ever continental encounter with the Verdiblancos, Sevilla went into cruise control for the remainder of the game – hence the lack of bite that saw their defence caught snoozing at the death when Vršič tapped home.
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