Frédéric Kanouté hailed the impact of new coach Gregorio Manzano as Sevilla FC made light of their slow start to the season by beating Borussia Dortmund to strengthen their hand in Group J.
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Sevilla FC forward Frédéric Kanouté believes UEFA Europa League Group J is now a three-way shoot-out for the two qualifying places, and hailed new coach Gregorio Manzano's contribution to the 1-0 win at ten-man Borussia Dortmund.
Ultimately Luca Cigarini's goal at the end of the first half separated the sides. Dortmund had created a host of chances prior to going behind and continued to carve out opportunities even after Marcel Schmelzer was dismissed in the 49th minute for a second yellow card. Kanouté admitted Sevilla, who broke a run of four straight defeats in European competition, had only respect for their opponents. "They're a very good team and we suffered out there," the former Malian international told UEFA.com.
Manzano took the reins at Sevilla on Monday following Antonio Álvarez's dismissal and, despite the limited time at his disposal, had an immediate impact. Kanouté said: "It's difficult for a coach to come in and change a lot in 48 hours – you can't expect miracles in two days – but he's put his imprint on the team, his style, and an important factor was the state of mind he managed to transmit to the players.
"There are now three teams going for the qualifying places and it will be very tight between those three, especially with Paris Saint-Germain winning tonight [against point-less FC Karpaty Lviv]."
Dortmund are among that trio and were left to rue their inability to capitalise on their numerous first-half openings with three headed chances falling to Lucas Barrios as the home side used the full width of the pitch to supply the Paraguyan international forward with dangerous crosses.
Serbian defender Neven Subotić, whose headed clearance fell to Cigarini for the goal, said: "It was an unusual match. In the first half Sevilla never attacked and we had a lot of chances. As they were defending with 10 men, the only way we were going to be able to get at them was to get the ball wide. It was difficult for us with ten players but we carried on playing well and I think we deserved a goal for our efforts."
Shinji Kagawa hit the post and Mats Hummels had a header blocked on the line as Dortmund pressed for an equaliser despite their numerical disadvantage. Midfielder Kevin Gosskreutz was left with the sentiment that justice had not been done. "In the first half we were dominant and could have been 2-0 up before conceding in the 45th minute. Even with ten men I thought we were better than Sevilla, although the final result is that we didn't get a goal."