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MATCH REPORT

Posted on 5 April 2007  - 12:00

Sevilla gained a narrow advantage in our UEFA Cup quarter-final with a 2-1 victory in the first leg at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium on Thursday night.

Sevilla gained a narrow advantage in our UEFA Cup quarter-final with a 2-1 victory in the first leg at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium on Thursday night.

However, it took a hotly-disputed penalty to bring the hosts back into the game after we'd made the perfect start through captain on the night Robbie Keane.

With just over a minute showing on the clock Berbatov played in Keane, who saw his effort saved by Andres Palop, but the ball ran loose and the Irishman was able to roll it into an empty net.

It wasn't even the first opening as Berbatov was looking rampant and strode forward with ease in the opening seconds before electing to pass rather than shoot.

The team settled quickly in this imposing and atmospheric arena and indulged in a spot of keep-ball before Berbatov nearly unlocked the gate for Keane again 11 minutes in. The locals were getting a little agitated with the assurity with which the ball was being kept.

They were considerably happier with the help of the referee on 17 minutes when the ball was not dealt with properly on the edge of the area and Adriano stole in on goal. Paul Robinson advanced and brilliantly took the ball from the feet of the Brazilian and then looked on in shock as Mr Hamer pointed to the spot.

Fredi Kanoute dispatched the penalty low past a hugely disgruntled Robbo two minutes later.

Keane attempted to restore the advantage with a low drive after good work from Lee Young-Pyo before Aaron Lennon hustled David Castedo off the ball and teed up Jermaine Jenas for a pot shot on goal. At the other end Robinson' reflexes proved to be in fine working order when Jesus Navas slammed in a drive that the goalkeeper did excellently to fend off.

Despite carrying on in a positive fashion we fell behind on 36 minutes after another failure to clear which allowed the ball to be delivered back across our area and Alexandr Kerzhakov to nod past Robinson.

Dawson was not too far away in the immediate response with a diving header from a Jenas free-kick and then Kerzhakov went for the spectacular and came pretty close to the top corner.

Some of the composure that was lost following the penalty decision was regained in the early minutes of the second half and there were chances for both Lennon and Keane.

It was Keane who had the best chance to level just before the hour mark when Berbatov played him in to the right of the area, but the skipper on the night pulled his shot wide of the far post.

A Kanoute header was the best chance Sevilla had of extending their advantage before Didier Zokora went on the charge and drilled a shot just wide of the post.

Steed Malbranque was drafted in with 16 minutes left, followed shortly after by Hossam Ghaly and Malbranque had the final chance of note having been teed up by Keane and Berbatov, but sadly sliced wide.

Don't forget the winners of our quarter-final face the winners of Osasuna/Bayer Leverkusen in the semi-finals - Osasuna took a huge step towards the last four with a 3-0 first leg win in Germany on Thursday night.