Swept Aside

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar July 27, 2018 17:58



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Swept Aside

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By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (July 26th 2018)


Under new management, Sevilla began fine-tuning for the Spanish Supercup against Barçelona in just over a fortnight and the new season with an emphatic 4-0 thrashing of Hungarian side Újpest at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán tonight. Jesús Navas, once of Manchester City, opened the scoring after just 7 minutes, thanks to a sumptuous assist – a delightful pin-point accurate cross-field pass by Roque Mesa Queveda to find him on the right of the area. His shot beat Filip Pajović to the keeper’s right.

A controversial penalty saw Branko Pauljević dismissed by referee Andriss Treimans for impeding Pablo Sarabia, and one-cap French international Wissam ben Yedder double Sevilla’s lead after 31minutes. It seemed unduly harsh for what seemed worthy of a yellow card if any card at all, and it ruined the match.
With half time approaching Sarabia made it 3-0 after Navas squared to him from the right for a tap-in, ending the match and in all probability the tie by half time in the first leg. Újpest’s attempts at damage limitation lasted until injury time in the second half when Franco Vázquez headed in from close range to make it 4-0. “3-0 is better than 4-0,” Nebojša Vignjević said before explaining that the tie ended after the sending off. His team would contest the second leg but the Hungarian league was his priority.

Vignjević told journalists that it was the second time that his team had been reduced to ten men, and it was hard enough to compete against a strong team like Sevilla at full strength. He apologised for the match being over. The sending off of Pauljević was the turning point. It was controversial, as he was not the last defender, and it was debatable as to whether it was a clear goal-scoring opportunity, but despite protests the defender had to go for impeding Sarabia as he was poised to shoot. It seemed unduly harsh. It was hardly a bad foul, and if a card had to be shown, why not yellow, especially as a penalty had been given. Wasn’t this exactly the double punishment to avoid?

Double Punishment

The punishment was doubled when ben Yedder doubled Sevilla’s lead on the night after 31 minutes. Prior to that Navas had given new coach Pablo Machín Diez an excellent start after 7 minutes – Nolito (Manuel Agudo Durán) with a volley from the edge of the area that just cleared after 4 minutes going unheeded – when Navas’ crisp finish from the edge of the box beat Pajović to the keeper’s right.

Chances came and went. Yedder’s point blank header after 20 minutes should have made it two, but Pajović produced an excellent save to his right to deny the French international. Shortly afterwards Pauljević cross from the right rebounded to Soma Novothny who should have equalised, but fluffed his shot completely. Within a minute Donát Zsótér tested Tomáš Vaclik from distance on left flank, but Sevilla’s keeper was not found wanting at his near post.

Navas and Nolito carved through the defence to create an opportunity but paid the price for wanting to pass it into the net – the effort was cleared and Navas had another effort denied shortly afterwards. Just before the penalty, Sarabia saw his shot saved by Pajović.

A Task too Far

The match was over by half time, as Újpest tried to limit the damage, but were sucker-punched by Navas squaring from the right of the area to Sarabia for an easy finish with half time approaching. 3-0 and a man down with another 45 to play, Újpest could do little but try to limit the damage and hope.

Sarabia went close twice before his final contribution – a goal disallowed for offside after 68 minutes. Nolito’s audacious back-heel and a further effort failed to add to Sevilla’s lead. Pejiño (Francisco Crespo García) replaced Sarabia and soon dazzled by cutting inside from the right to shoot, but his tame effort was easily saved by Pajović.

With less than 10 minutes of normal time to play, his cross from the left ought to have been converted by fellow substitute Sébastien Corchia, but he fluffed his shot with goal beckoning. In injury time Vázquez headed in from close range – Pejiño’s assist – to all but kill the tie.

New Arsenal boss Unai Emery Etxegoien made his name with three Europa League titles in a row, and Sevilla will face far tougher tests, but will not be underestimated by anyone now, as Machín Diez attempts to build on Sevilla’s history in this competition, and make some history of his own.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar July 27, 2018 17:58