UEFA Cup holders Sevilla FC are safely through to the Round of 32 after last night's 4-0 win at Grasshopper-Club and look in the right form to defend the trophy.
UEFA Cup holders Sevilla FC are safely through to the Round of 32 after last night's 4-0 win at Grasshopper-Club and the way they have played in 2006, they have every chance of becoming the first team to successfully defend the trophy since Spanish rivals Real Madrid CF in 1985/86.
Daniel Alves struck early in each half in Zurich and Ernesto Chevantón and Kepa Blanco added to the scoreline to ensure Sevilla joined AZ Alkmaar in progressing from Group C - with the two to play for first place in Spain on 14 December. Sevilla are now unbeaten in 12 European games, including the 4-0 victory against Middlesbrough FC in last season's final in Eindhoven, and Diario de Sevilla acclaimed the latest win as: "Daniel takes the team out for a stroll."
Alves, who scored twice for the first time in his career, said: "Everything must happen for the first time sometime and today was the day for me to score so I'm very happy. This is the Sevilla we all wanted to see, the club that plays good football and that wins by a large margin. We're growing a little bit more day by day. We have to follow this path because it suits us very well."
Chevantón, only playing in his second UEFA Cup match this season after missing the start of the campaign due to a back injury, added: "I'm very happy for this chance to play, for scoring a goal and for winning a match that could have been a tough one. It has boosted my self-confidence. I still have a lot of work to do and when I get my chance I will do my bit."
Coach Juande Ramos's side are also just a point behind FC Barcelona in the Primera División, but this has been a bittersweet week due to the death of one of his predecessors, Max Merkel. Ramos said: "We want to dedicate this match to him. It's a fair and well-deserved tribute to a coach who gave Sevilla such success." He explained why he made changes to the team. "It's positive for the squad to have all the players active and involved in all competitions, that's why I changed some of the players. We went out to win the match early so we wouldn't be too tired for our other matches this week." Sevilla next meet RCD Espanyol in the league on Sunday.