Sevilla said goodbye to the Champions League when they fell in cold Austria against Red Bull Salzburg in a match they were forced to win as punishment for a bad group stage in which they only managed to win in one match, against Wolfsburg the previous day and in which they were weighed down by the three draws they added in the first three days and the defeat at home against Lille, ultimately champion of the group. Salzburg, a very young team with a new coach, achieved the first classification in their history to the round of 16.
Those from Lopetegui are left with the consolation of falling to their favorite competition, the Europa League, of which they are the absolute dominator with six titles and whose final will be played precisely at the Sánchez-Pizjuán. The 0-3 of the French in Germany will allow the Andalusians to continue in Europe, since a Wolfsburg victory would have left them fourth in the group and out of all continental competition.
In a game that was played without an audience due to the restrictions that prevail in Austria due to the growth of Covid, the Andalusians did not take advantage of this small ‘advantage’ and, after a first part of control, had a clear chance with a shot from Munir to the crossbar, but fell on a goal from Okafor after a play by Adeyemi, To what happened the lace with the expulsion of Joan Jordán when he saw the second yellow when trying to avoid one against the Austrians, one of the virtues of the rival that Sevilla feared the most.
With many casualties among his starters and in the squad, Lopetegui appeared at Red Bull Arena without a reference in attack. The Basque, without being able to count on Jesús Navas, En-Nesyri, Lamela, Suso or Acuña, left Rafa Mir on the starting bench so that the rival’s centrals did not have a fixed reference but a more mobile one with Munir.
Sevilla trusted their options to the starts of Ocampos, the most fit player of the Sevilla team and the one that managed to give some depth to the game in the first half, the first 45 minutes in which there were not many occasions and there was a lot of respect from both teams. An Okafor shot that came out near the goalpost defended by Bono was the Austrians’ first scare, while, apart from the push from Ocampos, Sevilla stretched with some arrival from Rakitic and a couple of corner shots from Koundé .
In the second half, Sevilla sought more depth with a defense of three centrals and the departure of Rafa Mir accompanying Munir. And there were even a few minutes in which Lopetegui’s men seemed to be taking the step forward and were going to command the game, especially when Munir made it 0-1 sending a ball to the crossbar in a header, but the next play was the key: a loss and a counter well carried by Adeyemi on the left that Okafor converted at the first touch With the right foot. Then, the unfortunate move by Joan Jordán when catching an opponent who was leaving him already made qualifying for the round of 16 a miracle.
And the miracles in the Champions do not exist. With anxiety and with more heart than head, Sevilla tried, but without success. The consolation of the Europa League remains, but the goal is truncated.