They raced into the lead as early as the 19th minute when Morocco international Youssef En-Nesyri converted from the penalty spot after Luca Zidane pulled Oussama Idrissi’s shirt in the area and was subsequently sent off.
Sevilla Seal Victory Over Rayo Vallecano
Erik Lamela Scores Winner on Debut
Erik Lamela then sealed the victory for Sevilla with his second-half brace to ensure his side started their campaign in the Spanish top-flight on a flying note.
Lopetegui is pleased with the performances from his side at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, especially after their inability to really make a statement during their pre-season games against Paris Saint-Germain and AS Roma, as they battled to back-to-back draws.
“Every victory is a good victory. We wanted to overcome the challenges that we have faced. It has been quite a tough time for us, we couldn’t finish the preseason in the way we wanted,” Lopetegui told the club website.
“It meant that we didn’t have a full squad and players who weren’t at their best. It was a colossal effort from the team as we have overcome a lot of obstacles. We managed to get the three points against a difficult side.
“Every newly-promoted side is a tough team to come up against because they have nothing to lose. Rayo has a lot of pace up upfront. The sending off was a big moment in the game. We were able to win and get the three points.
“We struggled to find our rhythm at first and Rayo is a very energetic team. It was a good play by Oussama which eventually led to the penalty when Luca got sent off. Playing a man down in this setting and the heat is not easy. We lacked composure in some parts of the game. We were better in the second half, and we played more like we’re used to playing, which eventually helped us to get the three points.’
Lopetegui Hails Team Effort
Lopetegui also expressed his delight with the displays of goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic and Lamela, who made their debuts in the encounter.
“It’s always good to see players getting off on the right foot as it helped the team to win. They played well. Coco did not have a lot of time to train and prepare properly because he hasn’t played in any friendly,” he continued.
“However, he played really well tonight. Scoring goals is a reward for hard work. Marko also played well. He saved us twice, and he showed that he is a competitive and lively person. This can help us to have the competition in the squad that we want.
“The heat was a hindrance: It definitely complicated the game. There are players who weren’t able to play, and players who were able to play but not completely fit. This had to be taken into consideration. We’re happy with how we coped with the challenges, it is in the DNA of this team.”
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