R. Standard de Liège 0-0 Sevilla FC
UEFA Europa League holders Sevilla endured a frustrating evening in Belgium but nonetheless remain at the Group G summit.
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• Sevilla stay top of Group G with a goalless draw in Belgium
• Standard coach Ivan Vukomanović begins caretaker stint with a point
• The Belgian side lie a point shy of the summit after battling display
• Next games: Sevilla v Standard (6 November)
UEFA Europa League holders Sevilla FC endured a frustrating evening in Belgium as R. Standard de Liège put in a spirited performance to claim a goalless draw against the Group G leaders.
The hosts were playing their first match since the departure of coach Guy Luzon, and caretaker Ivan Vukomanović will have been delighted with his charges' battling qualities. Tenacious in the tackle, they were able to trouble Sevilla at times as well, keeping themselves within a point of the summit before the two teams reconvene in Spain on 6 November.
Liga high-flyers Sevilla came into the game in far ruder health and not surprisingly had the first chance on goal, José Antonio Reyes drawing an untidy save from Yohann Thuram-Ulien. Standard were in impressively resistant mood, however, with Laurent Ciman leading an effective mopping-up operation at the back.
Not even he could bolt the gates indefinitely, though, and Kevin Gameiro should perhaps have done better when picked out by Aleix Vidal. Starting his first UEFA Europa League fixture since burying the winning penalty in the 2014 final, the French forward could inject no punch into his header.
Standard finally emerged as an attacking force after the break, with Beto palming away Ricardo Faty's powerful header from a Paul-José Mpoku free-kick. Mpoku then curled wide of the post and Geoffrey Mujangi Bia tested Beto low to his right, after Gameiro had nodded wide at the other end.
Chances were proliferating, and Gameiro hit the outside of a post with a deflected volley before making way for Carlos Bacca. The substitute went close with an acrobatic effort, but Standard deserved at least a point – and nearly took all three in a late flurry.