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Ben Yedder header squeezes Sevilla past Lyon

Sevilla moved onto four points in UEFA Champions League Group H after a 1-0 victory over Lyon secured by Wissam Ben Yedder's header early in the second half in southern Spain.

Matchday 2 highlights: Sevilla 1-0 Lyon
Matchday 2 highlights: Sevilla 1-0 Lyon

Sevilla registered their first victory in UEFA Champions League Group H, and leapfrogged doughty opponents Lyon, thanks to a 53rd-minute header by Wissam Ben Yedder.

Up against less-than-obliging guests, Sevilla upped the pace in the second half and were rewarded when Luciano Vietto nodded Steven N'Zonzi's centre back across stranded goalkeeper Anthony Lopes and Ben Yedder glanced in.

Ben Yedder had an earlier headed goal ruled offside, though it was clear Jorge Sampaoli's men were in a contest when Lyon forward Nabil Fekir rattled the Sevilla crossbar and, soon after, drove perilously across the six-metre box.

Corentin Tolisso might have equalised, spurning a similar chance to the first-half one missed by Maxwel Cornet, and later skimmed the woodwork. Bruno Génésio's team did, however, escape unscathed when Vietto skied a penalty and subsequently saw his flicked finish over Lopes cleared off the line.

Nasri reflects on 'important win'
Nasri reflects on 'important win'

Key player: Samir Nasri
The French imp had received a glowing pre-match reference from his coach. Rather than react with complacency. Nasri got it just right. Switched tactically from left to centre midfield with N'Zonzi, he carved Lyon open. Whether it was give-and-go passes, neat little dribbles, defence-opening passes or winning the penalty for Vietto, this was a night to complement his excellence at the weekend when he scored against Athletic. His boss's specific pick in the transfer market, it appears Nasri is right in his element.

Rico's resilience
It's a vagary of a footballer's life that no matter how good you are, there are certain clubs where a top player's position is never guaranteed. Since breaking through permanently in 2014/15, Sergio Rico has had to fight off the challenge of four very good keepers and, as recently as Saturday, was dropped for Salvatore Sirigu. But the 23-year-old Spaniard has again taken all the adversity elite football can throw at him and thrived. Here he made several important saves, showed calm leadership at the back, and played like a veteran sure of his place.

Lyon's star duo
Lyon captain Maxime Gonalons had lavished praise on the injured Alexandre Lacazette, calling him "our star player". Yet in his absence there is nothing but equal appreciation for the front duo of Cornet and Fekir. Between them they hit the bar, tested Rico various times and, best of all, worked together like an innate pairing.

Cornet, a scorer on his last UEFA Champions League visit to Spain – at the Mestalla last term – is strong as a bull. He regularly wriggled past two or three challenges and emerged with the ball in the style of Samuel Eto'o. Fekir's shot is one of those, without massive back lift, that seem to carry absurd power. What's more, they even track back to tackle. Chapeau, gentlemen

Reporter's view

Graham Hunter, Sevilla (@BumperGraham)
It's an old tune, but a good one. Which is why everyone keeps playing it. It's called: Don't Miss Chances In the Champions League Lads. Not only is it added stress when a team consistently create opportunities but fail to close the deal; there is some immutable law that if you miss a given number of openings, you will be punished by a cruel equaliser.

Sevilla went what the Spaniards call from 'menos a más' – from less to more – as the game wore on. They had the greater energy, the greater chutzpah and that all gave Vietto and Vicente Iborra the chances to make it 2-0, even 3-0. They missed. Nasri's choice to give out-of-confidence Vietto the penalty, which he wasted, was well meaning but not streetwise. Four points from two matches is a super start. But they must learn to tuck away their opportunities. Or suffer.

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