EUROPA LEAGUE | STANDARD LIÈGE 0-0 SEVILLA
Sevilla snooze in Liège
The team of understudies conformed to the law of little effort. Gameiro hit the post and Standard caused a scare at the end. Despite the draw, Emery’s side still lead Group G.
Relentless in La Liga, in which they seem to overflow with energy, Sevilla took a breather in Liège, where they settled for a point and could almost be thankful. Standard, a feeble team, did not secure a miracle win in stoppage time. Krychowiak, who was omnipresent, cleared an effort away from goal and Vinicius, the former Valencia man, failed to put the ball in the back of the net during a frantic sequence of play.
The draw was fair, but Sevilla endeavoured too much to put themselves on the wire. Right now, the champions remain at the top of Group G and combine their success in La Liga by continuing on the right track in the group phase. Now they should seal qualification in Nervión. Without many of their stars, they were a weakened team that could not take advantage of the unrest at Standard, where the fans, who were up in arms, finished by backing and finding peace with their players. They accept the blot.
As different as their change sky blue kit is from their usual red strip, Sevilla were more or less alarming in the first half. They started neatly despite the changed line-up. They leaned on the head of Iborra, who was deployed in a strange position in order to deal with high balls, and on the partnership of Aleix and Diogo, who worked on the right.
Reyes, in addition, came close with a shot from outside the box. But little more. And then they switched off, failing to show the interest that Emery had intended to demonstrate. The Belgians, who started the match shivering, felt inferior and seemed doomed to summary justice that looked very bad, but they found out that they had a very good opportunity to rehabilitate themselves.
The match, a sleeping pill, came alive briefly between the 52nd and 63rd minute. Standard brushed the goal with an effort from Faty that Beto saved, while the interesting Mpoku produced a good strike which ended up sailing wide. It was also the time for Gameiro. The Frenchman, who pleaded for minutes but is still not at his best, failed with a header after a great cross from Krychowiak.
Then, with a lucky shot, he struck the post. It was the last thing he did. Emery, who is a good gauge of time, thought that he would try to snatch the win in the final half hour with Bacca, Denis and Deulofeu. However, the Colombian, who is normally so reliable, was blunt with two opportunities and two shots headed towards the sky.
It felt as if ten minutes more with the trio, whose presence also prompted improvement from Banega, would have been enough to take the win. But what happened was two agonising minutes for Beto, who remained focused all night long. Sevilla, without coverage in Liège, almost left everything at the end. They can head back home happy with a point.