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Sevilla increase Euro hopes

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By David Redshaw

Tuesday 03 April 2012

Sevilla increased their chances of qualifying for European competition with a 3-1 victory over Real Mallorca at the Sánchez Pizjuán on Monday night.

On a saturated pitch made heavy by a rainstorm prior to kick-off, the hosts made the running in the first half and only the brilliance of Mallorca goalkeeper Dudu Aouate kept the scoreline goalless at the break, the Israeli pulling off superb stops from Jesús Navas, Manu del Moral and José Antonio Reyes.

However, six minutes after the interval Spanish international striker Álvaro Negredo got the vital breakthrough when he rose at the near post to head home from Reyes’ corner. Sevilla doubled their advantage 10 minutes later when Manu ran on to a Navas pass and struck a well-timed shot across Aouate, with Navas himself adding a third on 67 minutes to put the result beyond doubt when he steered home from close range after Manu had turned provider.

Michel’s men could have gone even further ahead but Aouate was again on hand to prevent Fazio from heading home a fourth, although the visitors did score a consolation when Tomer Hemed turned his shot past Andrés Palop from Pablo Cáceres low cross.

The win was the third in a row for Sevilla, who are now eighth in the table level on points with Atlético Madrid and just one point off the Europa League places. But boss Michel is keeping his players’ feet firmly on the ground and knows there is still much to play for in what remains of the season.

“We are not even thinking about Europe, only that we have managed three consecutive victories and scored nine goals, but the team is playing well although we are still far away from what we want,” he told a Press conference.

“We needed to be very patient tonight, especially in the first half when we didn’t put away our chances. But I felt we were going to score and later, when the game opened up, we were superior and deserved our victory.”

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