Monday, July 15, 2024

Unbeaten Sevilla humble Stuttgart to lead group

Spanish side Sevilla took a step closer to the knock-out stages of the Champions League as they sealed a 3-1 win at VfB Stuttgart on Tuesday to maintain their 100 percent record on top of Group G.

With Unirea Urziceni winning 4-1 at Rangers, Stuttgart are now in the bottom two and have only two points from three games and face a mountain to climb if they are to survive the group stages.

In contrast, Sevilla have nine points from three games and are virtually assured of progressing after they raced into a 3-0 lead thanks to two headers from French defender Sebastien Squillaci and midfielder Jesus Navas.

Stuttgart pulled a consolation goal back through Brazil’s Elson, but for Markus Babbel’s side it was too little, too late.

Sevilla took the lead against the run of play when their Brazilian midfielder Adriano swung in a cross and Squillaci netted looped his header over diving Stuttgart goalkeeper Jens Lehmann on 23 minutes.

It was extremely harsh luck for Stuttgart whose Russian play-maker Aliaksandr Hleb had been causing havoc in the Spanish defence and the Germans had enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges.

Stuttgart’s Brazil striker Cacau fired straight at the goalkeeper with an earlier effort while Serbian midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic scored only to have his effort ruled offside.

Sevilla made sure of the three points when Argentina midfielder Diego Perotti beat the defence and chipped in a cross which Lehmann failed to gather and midfielder Jesus Navas fired home from close range on 55 minutes.

Squillaci scored with his second scoring header when Serbia midfielder Ivica Dragutinovic curled in a free-kick and with a hint of offside the Frenchman beat Lehmann for the second time on 72 minutes.

Stuttgart pulled a deserved goal back when Elson curled in a direct free-kick on 74 minutes from 25 metres out.

But it was no more than mere consolation as the Spaniards left Germany with another three points under their belt.

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