Sevilla travelled to Austria this evening for a must-win Champions League clash only to suffer a 1-0 defeat to Salzburg and crash out of the Champions League into the Europa League. Noah Okafor scored the decisive goal in the 51st minute, while Joan Jordan got himself sent off in the 65th.
The Andalusian side were third in Group G going into the game, but had the chance to leapfrog Salzburg into second had they managed to win. That would have enabled them to sneak into the last 16 of the competition on the final day of the group phase.
Sevilla had been in good form. They beat Villarreal 1-0 at the Sanchez-Pizjuan at the weekend and are second in La Liga, behind only Real Madrid. Salzburg are 12 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, and beat Hartberg 2-1 on Saturday. They’ll join Lille, who topped the group, in the second round of the Champions League. Sevilla are headed for the Europa League.
“We had a rough group stage and it’s something that’s been repeated today,” Julen Lopetegui said post-match in comments carried by Diario de Sevilla. “At key moments we haven’t been successful or we haven’t had that stroke of fortune, and we’ve paid for it. We were excited, so we’re sad and disappointed. We wish we could redo the entire group stage, it was so complex with so many difficulties and injuries.
“I’m sad, like the entire dressing room and everyone connected to the club. We were excited to make it to the second round and fix everything we broke in the group stage, but it wasn’t to be. We’re disappointed and sad, but we’re aware that there are three competitions now ahead of us. Today we’re going to be as we are, but from tomorrow we’ll look straight ahead and try to tackle each competition in the best possible manner. We will try to rebuild ourselves, get up and compete in each of the three competitions with strength.”