Sevilla continued their encouraging start to Champions League Group H thanks to a 1-0 win over Lyon, Wissam Ben Yedder hushing his doubters and netting the winner.
The close-season signing from Toulouse had been one of several new recruits to attract criticism after initially struggling to break into the team, but he made the difference for Jorge Sampaoli on Tuesday, as Sevilla added to their point at Juventus on matchday one.
Despite Sevilla seeing more of the ball, Lyon looked more purposeful in the final third and almost went ahead early on when the lively Nabil Fekir smashed against the crossbar.
The visitors were made to rue their inability to take their first-half chances just after the break as Ben Yedder capped off a good Sevilla move to open the scoring, though Sergio Rico had to be alert to deny Corentin Tolisso an equaliser just after.
Luciano Vietto should have made sure of the three points 21 minutes from time as he blazed a penalty over the crossbar, but it did not matter as the home side ultimately had little difficulty holding on to their first win of the group stage.
Sampaoli demanded more aggression in attack following Sevilla’s 3-1 defeat at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday and his team looked bright going forward in the early exchanges.
They looked unconvincing at the back, though, and had to rely on the crossbar to rescue them in the 13th minute, as Fekir pounced on a Steven N’Zonzi error and sent a fierce effort against the frame of the goal from 25 yards.
Sevilla broke through Lyon for the first time shortly after as Vitolo nodded down Nico Pareja’s long pass and Vietto forced Anthony Lopes into a strong save from eight yards out.
But Lyon did not let that distract them from their probing of the hosts’ frail backline and Maxwel Cornet hammered a shot at Rico from a tight angle in the 27th minute.
Sevilla began the second period with rather more intent and were deservedly ahead in the 52nd minute – Ben Yedder nodding in from close range after Vietto headed N’Zonzi’s deep cross over Lopes.
Lyon almost hit back a minute later, but Rico produced a fine save to his left to deny Tolisso after a clever one-two with Fekir.
Sevilla should have wrapped things up 25 minutes from time when Ben Yedder played Vietto through on goal, but the Argentinian took too many touches and Lopes blocked his eventual effort.
Vietto’s misery continued shortly after as he sliced a penalty over following a clumsy Jordy Gaspar tackle on Samir Nasri.
The Argentina international missed another fine chance a few minutes later, but Sevilla still had no issue claiming a vital win.
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