Sevilla FC 2-1 FC Zenit
Substitute Denis Suárez's late volley helped the holders come from behind to secure a narrow advantage for next week's trip to Russia.
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• Perfect Denis Suárez volley earns late victory for Sevilla
• Aleksandr Ryazantsev puts Zenit ahead before Carlos Bacca equaliser
• Hulk, Danny, Igor Smolnikov and Domenico Criscito all suspended for Zenit
• Sevilla won the tournament on all three previous occasions they reached the quarters
• Pair meet again in Stadion Petrovski next Thursday
Reigning champions Sevilla FC came from behind to earn a UEFA Europa League quarter-final first-leg advantage over FC Zenit after Denis Suárez crashed in a remarkable volleyed winner.
Having lost on all six previous visits to Spain, Zenit looked ready to buck the trend when Aleksandr Ryazantsev's 29th-minute opener silenced the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. Carlos Bacca headed an equaliser with 17 minutes remaining before fellow substitute Suárez smashed in a superb first-time shot to hand Sevilla the initiative going into next Thursday's second leg.
With the holders facing off against another former winner of this tournament, it was always likely to be a close affair and so it proved early on. Kevin Gameiro turned the ball just wide at the near post for Sevilla while Oleg Shatov tested Sergio Rico from an angle at the other end.
The best chance of the opening quarter fell the way of Ryazantsev, who was ideally placed when Milan Rodić's left-wing cross found him but the No5's header slipped wide of the far post. However, it was Ryazantsev – who had not started on any of his four preceding appearances in this season's competition – who got the breakthrough. Cutting in from the left the Russia midfielder saw his first attempt parried by Rico but fired his second into the roof of the net from a tight angle.
The Spanish side were firmly on the front foot after the restart and Suárez forced Ezequiel Garay to clear off the line before Grzegorz Krychowiak flashed a header across the face of Yuri Lodygin's goal. The keeper could do nothing shortly after as Aleix Vidal stood up a cross to the back post and unmarked substitute Bacca was on hand to thump his header in before, with two minutes remaining, Suárez connected perfectly with a dropping ball on the edge of the box to rifle a winner into the corner.