"It seems fated that this was the game where we ended our bad away run," said Sevilla's Vitolo, a stroke of luck having resurrected his side's fortunes against Athletic Club.
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Named Athletic Club captain in place of regular skipper Carlos Gurpegi, who was benched in favour of fellow centre-back Eneko Bóveda, Iker Muniain's match had started so well.
The winger showed pace and industry in Thursday's first period at San Mamés, prior to laying on Aritz Aduriz's headed opener against UEFA Europa League holders Sevilla on 48 minutes. Yet that was where it all unravelled for the former Spain Under-21 wide man, a member of the Athletic side that stormed to the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League final.
"I think this was an even game, as we'd expected," said Bóveda, reflecting on the moment Muniain's headed back pass fell short of goalkeeper Iago Herrerín, enabling Sevilla's Éver Banega to set up Timothée Kolodziejczak's equaliser on the way to a 2-1 quarter-final first-leg win. "The match slipped away from us through a mistake. Until then Sevilla had been on the ropes and we'd looked comfortable, but after that Sevilla had the upper hand."
Singing from the same hymn sheet was midfielder Mikel San José: "We had the game pretty much under control, and after we scored we had them pegged back. They were looking anxious and knew the tie might be going against them. But then came their equaliser, which really knocked us, and they killed us off with the second goal [from Vicente Iborra] from a nice move."
"It seems fated that this was the game where we ended our bad away run, against a great team in a great stadium," said Sevilla winger Vitolo of the club's first success on their travels in the Liga or Europe this campaign. "We knew that if we got a goal it would hurt them, and after we scored their heads dropped. We played really well, but nothing is decided yet as they are dangerous away from home."
"This was a great moment for a first away win," added Sevilla captain Coke, whose team are gunning for an unprecedented third consecutive UEFA Europa League title. "We were under the cosh a bit at one point in the first half, and after their goal, but we dragged ourselves back into it, pushed forward and got the equaliser.
"And when we got the second that made it a very good result, though we'll have to be very sharp in the return as Athletic aren't out of it yet. This is a competition we're very fond of and one we always give our best in."