12.09.2016 11:00 - in: Champions League S

    Sizing up Sevilla

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    Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Las Palmas sees Jorge Sampaoli’s men sit second in La Liga with seven points from three matches. Goals, and plenty of them, have characterised the Andalusians’ start to the season…
    Late drama against Las Palmas

    Jorge Sampaoli promised edge of the seat, attacking football on his presentation as the new coach of Sevilla in July and the former Chile boss has certainly been true to his word so far.

    The Rojiblancos warmed up for Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Turin to face Juventus in style over the weekend, netting twice in the final five minutes to overhaul a one-goal deficit at home to Las Palmas.

    Despite dominating possession (65 per cent, completing twice as many passes as their visitors), a fundamental aspect of the Andalusians’ play under their new manager, their recently promoted opponents took the lead early on through Pedro Tana’s excellent finish on 16 minutes from one of just four shots on target and looked set to head back to the Canary Islands with all three points.

    An opening for new signing Wissam Ben Yedder from Ganso’s clever through pass aside, the home side struggled to make any headway in the opening period and, in fact, had goalkeeper Sergio Rico to thank for not falling further behind before the interval.

    The hosts started the second half with more purpose, however, with the introduction of familiar face Vitolo, one of few forward players to remain from last season, making an immediate impact, the Spaniard teeing up former Palermo midfielder Franco Vazquez to shoot straight at Javi Varas from a good position.

    Rico would be called into action again at the other end shortly afterwards, scurrying off his line to block Sergio Araujo’s effort with his legs but the tie would swing irreversibly in Sevilla’s favour with one minute of normal time remaining as Pedro Bigas’ foul on Vitolo in the penalty area handed the hosts a lifeline.

    With Pablo Sarabia smashing low and hard to the keeper’s left from the spot, Sampaoli’s side were back on level terms, at a one-man advantage and had suddenly galvanized the home crowd as a grandstand finale beckoned.

    Las Palmas were unable to hold on any longer and with the final kick of the game, youth team product Carlos Fernandez – the only scorer so far for the Rojiblancos not signed in the summer - poked home from a matter of yards after a goalmouth scramble to complete an unlikely last-minute turnaround.

    First day fireworks against Espanyol

    Saturday’s action pales significantly however when compared to the Spanish outfit’s opening game of the campaign against Espanyol.

    Twice behind and twice level before the break, a stellar show of attacking force and aggression – exactly the kind that Sampaoli relishes – saw Wednesday’s Juventus Stadium visitors run out 6-4 winners in a ten-goal thriller.

    As if to introduce themselves formally to their new fans, summer arrivals Sarabia (Getafe), Vazquez (Palermo), Ben Yedder (Toulouse), Luciano Vietto (Atletico Madrid) and Hiroshi Kiyotake (Hannover) all found the scoresheet in a game that is unlikely to be topped this term.

    Picking up a creditable goalless draw at Villarreal in between the aforementioned victories against Espanyol and Las Palmas, the five-time Europa League champions sit in second place in La Liga on seven points, two adrift of Real Madrid. If the domestic form and full throttle style of both sides is anything to go by, Bianconeri fans can expect goals aplenty in Turin in two days’ time.

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