In the first leg of the UEFA Europa League semi-finals, Kevin Gameiro converted an 82nd minute penalty kick to give Sevilla a slight edge going into the second leg. The goal from 12 yards out, gave the Spanish side a 2-2 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine.
Sevilla score first, but Shakhtar fight back
Sevilla opened the scoring on their first clear-cut chance of the match. Ever Banega sliced a ball through the middle. Kevin Gameiro flicked the ball into empty space where Vitolo made a run to get into the pass. Then, inside the box, Vitolo produced a massive cutback to get onto his left foot before beating Andriy Pyatov. This goal, in the sixth minute of the match, shocked the Shakhtar faithful. The hosts hardly ever give up a go in the opening half and the stadium fell silent.
As the half wore on, Donetsk grew more confidence as they saw more possession. In the 14th minute, Yaroslav Rakitiskiy hit a shot from well outside the area and missed the target. Marlos also had a go from outside the box four minutes later, but his shot fell into the hands of David Soria.
The onslaught of pressure finally paid off, five minutes after Marlos’ first attempt. His second attempt, found the back of the net. Rakitiskiy sprayed a long pass that evaded a number of Sevilla defenders. Marlos was in space, chested the ball to control it before opening up his body, curling a shot in behind the Sevilla goalkeeper.
12 minutes later, there was a second goal. Taison and Marlos played a short corner with the latter getting space on the left flank. A Sevilla defender closed him down, but the 27-year-old used his pace to beat him. Marlos used his excellent left foot to whip a ball towards the top of the six yard box. Steven N’Zonzi tried to clear the cross away but missed. Taras Stepanenko was free in space and hit a powerful header to take the advantage.
Visitors pressure pays off
In the last quarter-hour of the match, Sevilla began to venture more into their final third of the pitch. Sergio Escudero found Kevin Gameiro with a great cross. The French striker turned the ball into the back of the net, but the assistant referee rose his flag for offside. Three minutes later, Gameiro skied a shot from close range well over the top of the cross bar, sending it into the stands.
Darijo Serna drove a cross into the box, in the box and tried to find the run of Facundo Ferreyra. The Shakhtar striker though could not get on the end of the delivery as it was over hit slightly.
Gameiro again had an opportunity to draw this first leg level with ten minutes remaining. Vitolo showed great technique inside the box to maintain possession. He then dragged a pass back towards the near post but Olexandr Kucher put it out for a corner.
But then, Ferreyra slid over Vitolo’s boots. The Sevilla men went to ground and the referee eventually blew for a penalty. Kevin Gameiro hit an excellent spot kick past a diving Pyatov, drawing the match level.
This result for Sevilla and Unai Emery will do them a world of good. They found a way to quite the hosts in the second half while finding a second away goal. There is still 90 minutes left to go in this tie, but should be full of confidence.