While Juventus were coming back from a goal down to beat Manchester City two weeks ago, Wednesday night’s opponents Sevilla got their Group D campaign underway in equally impressive fashion, beating Borussia Monchengladbach 3-0 at the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan.
Tussle at the top of Group D
The story in the south of Spain was one of penalties both missed and converted. After a first half which saw the hosts carve out a number of presentable opportunities, the best of which falling to captain Jose Antonio Reyes after Vitolo’s strike had cannoned back off the post, the two teams went in level at the interval.
Three penalties in 19 minutes though in the second 45 broke the deadlock and sparked the tie into life. The first came just 26 seconds after the restart as the lively Kevin Gameiro was felled by Monchengladbach keeper Yann Sommer before smashing home from the spot himself to give the home side a deserved lead.
Three minutes later, the Frenchman was presented with another chance from 12 yards following Roel Brouwers’ trip on Vitolo. This time however, the ex-PSG man was denied by the woodwork, seeing his effort strike the bar and bounce down on the line before being ushered to safety.
The forward’s miss nearly proved costly too, as the visitors went close moments later at the other end as Brazilian Raffael flashed inches wide of the post after a quick Gladbach counter-attack.
Luckily for Gameiro though it mattered little, as a remarkable third penalty was awarded just after the hour as the 28-year old was halted once more in the Germans’ box. With the responsibility passed to Ever Banega, the Argentine made no mistake, coolly converting to put the Andalusians firmly in control.
And the points were wrapped up eight minutes from time as substitute Yevhen Konoplyanka’s cross-cum-shot caught Sommer off his guard at the near post to get the Blanquirrojos’ Champions League campaign off to the best possible start.
Massimiliano Allegri’s Bianconeri and Unai Emery’s Sevilla then will both be looking to cement their places at the top of Group D on Wednesday night.
Back-to-back wins for either side, to go with their respective successes in Matchday 1, would represent a big step towards the knockout stages for whoever comes out on top.
Drama awaits at Juventus Stadium.