In the first match of the Europa League playoff, Dinamo Zagreb lost to Sevilla 1:3 at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium. The return match is on February 24 at Maksimir Stadium.
As a reminder, eight winners of the Europa League groups won a direct place in the round of 16, while eight second-placed teams, including Dinamo, entered the play-off round against the eight third-placed teams from the Champions League.
Dinamo was second in Group H behind West Ham, while Sevilla was third in Group G of the Champions League behind Lille and RB Salzburg. The better of this pair will win a place in the Europa League round of 16.
Sevilla took the lead in the 13th minute with a penalty scored by former Croatia player Ivan Rakitic. Mislav Oršić equalized in the 41st minute, though the host turned the score around with two goals by the end of the first half. Lucas Ocampos scored in the 44th for 2:1, and two minutes later, Anthony Martial scored for 3:1.
Dinamo welcomed the visit to Sevilla with a series of seven consecutive victories, while Sevilla celebrated only once in the last five matches before Dinamo. However, Sevilla had lost only once in 15 home games – to Lille in the Champions League.
Željko Kopić could not count on Josip Mišić due to yellow cards, while Dino Perić and Emir Dilaver suffered injuries. Unfortunately, Luka Ivanušec dropped out last minute due to an adductor problem.
Captain Ivan Rakitic led Sevilla on Thursday night.
“It was strange to see Livaković in goal,” said Rakitic with a smile after the match.
“We are happy and proud; we achieved a victory against the fantastic Dinamo. It was not easy; we played an interesting game and deservedly won,” Rakitic added.
“It was important that we reacted quickly after Oršić’s goal. Then, in the second half, we controlled the result. This is a good result, but open. We know how important Europe is; you must always be at the highest level,” concluded the Croatia midfielder.
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