Victory for Sevilla FC came in a roller-coaster afternoon at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán in which overcoming UD Las Palmas, who put in a strong performance and had several chances to threaten the win, was more difficult than the home side would have predicted. It wasn’t until late in the second half that the winner arrived in the form of a masterful finish by Lukebakio and after which Mendilibar’s team began to turn the screw on the away team. In almost the final minute of added-time, Marko Dmitrovic prevented Javi Muñoz from claiming a late leveller with a superb stop using his face and ensured his side could enjoy a deserved and hard-fought victory.
The first half came to a close with the match still goalless after Sevilla FC started by pressuring and suffocating the opposition as well as getting into the final third with ease. Nevertheless, it was Jonathan Viera who could have opened the scoring inside the first minute of the game with a low shot across goal to the left of Dmitrovic. Rafa Mir, on two occasions, had the clearest chance for the home side with two powerful efforts that twice forced Vallés into action to keep his clean-sheet intact. The visitors grew into proceedings as the game went on, looking increasingly comfortable and threatening the Sevilla box with Munir firing over. When Pedrosa and Sow came off, the match was still level.
Lukebakio found the back of the net after two near-misses from En-Nesyri.
Las Palmas were dangerous following the restart with a shot from Sandro challenging Dmitrovic, and were then denied a goal from Kaba by a fantastic block from Sergio Ramos. There was a crazy five-minute spell when it felt like anything could happen as both teams had chances. Ocampos’ long-range effort was stopped by Vallés, before Mendilibar made his first changes which saw the introduction of Lukebakio, marking his debut, and En-Nesyri. Pedrosa then burst forward and let rip another shot to the right of the goalkeeper at the midway point of the second half. With Sevilla putting ever more pressure in the opposition area, the clearest chance fell to our Moroccan striker, whose shot was inches away from crossing the line, only to be scooped away by Vallés.
And at long last the goal game. We had looked the more likely of the two teams to score and it was a nervy end as Las Palmas looked like they were starting to hold out. Vallés once again kept out En-Nesyri but Lukeabkio was on hand to score past the stranded keeper and at last break the deadlock. Medilibar's side began to calm down with the breakthrough and slowed the game down. Fernando came on for the excellent Sow and Lukebakio continued breaking through of the left wing, nearly scoring his second of the game after dribbling through the defence. Soumaré then came on for his debut as he slotted in alongside Fernando working in tandem defensively. In the closing minutes of the game, Dmitrovic produced an excellent save to ensure the three points remained in Nervión as he denied Javi Muñoz. We had to hold out but we played well after the break and recorded our first win of the season. w
1. SEVILLA FC: Dmitrovic, Jesús Navas, Badé, Sergio Ramos, Pedrosa, Sow (Fernando,73'), Rakitic, Suso (Lukebakio, 60'), Ocampos (Soumaré, 84'), Ó. Torres (Lamela, 84') y Rafa Mir (En-Nesyri, 60').
0. UD LAS PALMAS: Vallés, Araujo (Coco, 63'), Suárez (Park, 73'), Mármol, Cardona, Loiodice (Perrone, 73'), Kirian, Jonathan Viera, Munir, Sandro y Kaba.
GOLES: 1-0 Lukebakio, 71'.
REFEREE: Martínez Munuera. Yellow cards for Ó. Torres, Rafa Mir, Araujo, Munir, Kirian, Jonathan Viera and Ocampos.