Sevilla FC 0-2 Real Betis Balompié
The visitors prised open the door to the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals courtesy of goals in each half from Léo Baptistão and Salvador Sevilla.
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Goals from Léo Baptistão and Salva Sevilla secured Real Betis Balompié, who exhibited bite and conviction, a 2-0 away win against neighbours Sevilla FC in this round of 16 opener.
Stunned by a fine opening goal by Betis striker Baptistão, Sevilla showed perseverance aplenty only to be denied time and time again by visiting keeper Antonio Adán. And after Kevin Gameiro spurned a gilt-edged opportunity, the hosts were rocked by another superb strike with 13 minutes remaining – substitute Sevilla sealing a commanding advantage going into next Thursday's second leg.
Roared on by a packed Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, Sevilla almost broke the deadlock within seconds of kick-off, Carlos Bacca driving into the box and executing a low shot that was well saved. Firmly on the front foot, the home side again went close on 14 minutes when Bacca's drive was blocked by Jordi, but José Antonio Reyes could only slam the rebound over. Within a minute they were behind.
Having already looked threatening on the break, Betis stunned the home faithful with a superbly taken goal, wing-back Juanfran's near-post cross met by a thumping header from Baptistão. Showing impressive resolve, Sevilla continued to pour forward, only to find former Real Madrid CF custodian Adán in fine form. Having denied Bacca once more and forced Vitolo to chip wide, Adán won another vital duel – this time with Reyes – as the ex-Arsenal FC forward bore down on goal.
Mirroring the first period, Sevilla continued to press after the interval, while looking vulnerable to the pace and skill of Betis trio Rubén Castro, Cedrick and Baptistão. Ten minutes in, the goalscorer wriggled away from Fernando Navarro and sent a firm drive towards goal that was blocked by Beto. Sevilla reacted immediately through substitute Gameiro, although the forward poked just wide.
Worse was to come for Gameiro when he headed over from Marko Marin's exquisite cross with the goal gaping. Gabriel Calderón's doubled their lead three minutes later, Baptistão squeezing a pass through to Sevilla, who evaded his marker before arrowing a shot into the far corner.