What a remarkable start to our adventure this year in Europa's biggest competition! We stunned Sevilla in their own ground, but our dominance did not bring us any more than a 1-1 draw.
In the city of flamenco, our side, which was the youngest team in the UEFA Champions League since 2009 on average at the age of 22 and 220 days, shone with cha-cha-cha football. The Andalusians had the first notable opportunity via En-Nesyri, but his misplaced header flew wide of the right post. The first big opening then came our way from the penalty spot. Carlos brought Adeyemi down on the edge of the box and after a quick VAR check, the free-kick was upgraded to a penalty! Adeyemi himself stepped up but sent the ball wide of the right post. We had our heads in our hands, but didn't have to wait long for a chance to put it right from the spot as Navas shoved Adeyemi to the ground. Sucic took the responsibility this time and the midfielder sent Bono the wrong way for a 1-0 lead (21')!
Sevilla struggled to contain our side with plenty of wild challenges flying about. Bono put one in himself, when Adeyemi was trying to run past him in the box, and it was another clear penalty! Sucic grabbed the ball again, but this time he hit it into the post! Sevilla looked for a way to respond to our incredible play and soon were given the ideal opportunity. Wöber fouled En-Nesyri in the box and the most experienced man on the pitch today, Rakitic, sent a cool penalty right into the corner to level at 1-1 (42').
The half-time break did not quell the furious play of Jaissle's boys in the slightest. Adeyemi supplied Sesko, who broke away from his marker and sent a shot in from short range - which Bono tipped sensationally over his own crossbar! There was then pure theatre at the other end as En-Nesyri leapt onto the floor after a challenge with Solet and was rightly shown a second yellow card (50').
We went on to control the play as Sevilla dropped deep and we kept it running around as we hunted a way through. Our best opportunities came from distance though, with Seiwald and Solet trying their luck but failing to test the keeper. With around 20 minutes to go, the hosts suddenly went into a more attacking mode with Mir and Lamela both having aerial opportunities – only for Philipp Köhn and a lack of precision to foil them. Our boys had the last chances to win it - Bono tipped an Aaronson effort over and then saved to deny Adamu. We therefore started the UEFA Champions League with a draw. A great result, no doubt about it, but given our first half, a win would have been firmly in the realm of possibilities.
If someone had told us before the match that we would take a point home from here, then we absolutely would have taken it. The way this young team performed makes me extremely proud! If you consider the whole match with the two missed penalties, it's perhaps a little annoying we didn't win, but I'm happy with the performance.
We didn't have too much possession in the first half, but plenty of chances. Three penalties, what can I say? I didn't put the first in, and there was no discussion about the second, it was definitely Luka's to take. They had six or seven men at the back and defended well with all the very strong players they have. It was a good game on the whole, and we can be pleased with the point.
Piatkowski for Wöber (51'), Adamu for Sesko (67'), Capaldo for Seiwald (80'), Okafor for Adeyemi (80')
Seiwald (15' foul), Capaldo (84' foul), Camara (90+3' foul), Okafor (90+4' foul)
Not available for action
Vallci (Achilles), Koita (knee), Junuzovic (heel)