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Leagues: Champions League

Ben Yedder winner edges Sevilla past Lyon

Seville (Spain) (AFP) – Sevilla took a big step towards reaching the knockout stage of the Champions League for the first time in six years as Wissam Ben Yedder’s header ensured a 1-0 win over Lyon on Tuesday.

Ben Yedder was left with the simple task of heading into an empty net from Luciano Vietto’s knockdown early in the second-half, but Vietto had a night to forget in front of goal as he skied a penalty over the bar 20 minutes from time.

Lyon hit the woodwork either side of half-time through Nabil Fekir and Corentin Tolisso, but were overrun in the second period as Sevilla held on for a deserved win.

Victory takes Jorge Sampaoli’s men level with Juventus at the top of Group H on four points after the Italian champions were 4-0 victors at Dinamo Zagreb. Lyon slip to third a point further back.

Sampaoli made seven changes to the side that started Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Athletic Bilbao with a host of first team regulars recalled.

However, it was the visitors who threatened most early on. Fekir was forced into a more advanced role in his Champions League debut in the absence of star striker Alexandre Lacazette and was desperately unlucky when his fierce shot from outside the area came back off the bar.

Sevilla have now won 15 of their last 17 European ties at home and finally worked their way into the game midway through the half when Anthony Lopes rushed from his goal to block Vietto’s effort when clean through on goal.

Ben Yedder then had a goal ruled out for offside against Samir Nasri in the build-up.

However, the Europa League holders had goalkeeper Sergio Rico to thank for being level at the break as his outstretched foot turned Maxwel Cornet’s low effort to safety.

Sevilla were greeted by a few timid boos as they left the field at half-time, but came out transformed at the start of the second-half.

Nasri had already seen a fierce effort saved by Lopes by the time Ben Yedder followed up Vietto’s intelligent header back across goal to nod the hosts into a 53rd minute lead.

Rico came to his side’s rescue again two minutes later with a brilliant save from Tolisso after an excellent through ball from Fekir.

Vietto had two golden chances to put the game beyond Lyon, but failed to take either as again he couldn’t get the better of Lopes in a one-on-one.

And when Nasri was chopped down by Jordy Gaspar inside the area, the on-loan Atletico Madrid striker chipped the ball well over the bar from the penalty spot.

Tolisso fired another warning when his long-ranger effort was tipped onto the bar by Rico.

Vietto’s luck was out again 13 minutes from time when Jeremy Morel’s brilliant goal line clearance denied the Argentina after he finally beat Lopes.

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