2014/15 UEFA Europa League, 2014 First Round
  • Denis Suárez (20')

Sevilla FC 1-0 Rijeka

Reigning Europa League champions Sevilla ensured their participation in the round of 32 with a 1-0 victory against Croatian side HNK Rijeka on Thursday night.
Denis Suarez put Sevilla ahead in the 20th minute at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium with a fantastic piece of individual skill, but despite further chances the hosts could not add to their tally.
Victory for Unai Emery's side enabled them to seal their progression from Group G, but they had to settle for the runners-up spot after Feyenoord won the group with a 3-0 victory at Standard Liege.
Sevilla made two changes to the side that beat Rayo Vallecano on Sunday to earn their third consecutive victory in all competitions, with Suarez and Fernando Navarro in for Diogo Figueiras and Grzegorz Krychowiak.
Rijeka manager Matjaz Kek went one better with Marko Leskovic, Marin Leovac and Vedran Jugovic making way for Marko Vesovic, Miral Samardzic and Zoran Kvrzic, who had not started Rijeka's 3-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb at the weekend.
Sevilla could have been in front as early as the sixth minute but Suarez, on a two-year loan from Barcelona, volleyed straight at Rijeka goalkeeper Ivan Vargic after he ran on to Carlos Bacca's delightful chipped pass over the top of the Rijeka defence.
Suarez made no mistake in the 20th minute, though, and the game's opener was well worth the wait.
The attacking midfielder controlled a pass from Jose Antonio Reyes, effortlessly beat two Rijeka defenders as he waltzed into the penalty and coolly slotted past Vargic to bring the home supporters to their feet.
Bacca thought he had doubled the Spaniards' advantage a minute later, but he had started his run a split-second early and was ruled offside after he beat Vargic to the ball and stroked home.
Reyes shot from distance as the first half drew to a close but Vargic kept Rijeka in the match with a smart save to ensure they were only a goal down going into the half-time interval.
Mato Jajalo wasted a rare Rijeka chance five minutes after the restart when he fired well wide after Ivan Tomecak did well to skip past his marker down the left flank before finding his team-mate with a cut-back cross.
Buoyed by their rare foray into Sevilla's half, Rijeka went on the attack once more five minutes later and Andrej Kramaric drew a fine save from home keeper Antonio Beto.
Sevilla survived Rijeka's prolonged spell in the ascendancy and substitute Kevin Gameiro thought he had sealed victory for Emery's side with 10 minutes left when he poked home Ever Banega's shot on the rebound but the Frenchman was penalised for offside.
Reyes missed a golden chance to put the result beyond doubt in the closing stages when Sevilla broke on the counter but in the end it did not matter as time ran out for Rijeka to find an equaliser.