A goal and an assist from Kevin Gameiro helped Sevilla secure a crucial 2-2 draw away from home against Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday, making them the favourites to secure a place in the Europa League final.
Winners of the last two editions of the competition, the Spanish side let an early lead slip away as Marlos and Tara Stepanenko buoyed the hopes of the home fans at the Arena Lviv.
However that all changed as Gameiro fired home a late penalty – his fourth in his last four Europa League matches – to secure a vital draw for Sevilla.
The Spanish side wasted little time in scoring away from home after six minutes. Vitolo turned Yaroslav Rakitskiy inside out before firing past Andriy Pyatov in the Shakhtar goal.
Kevin Gameiro was credited with an assist on the goal, meaning he has now contributed to six goals – four strikes and two assists – for the Andalusian side during this season’s Europa League.
Shakhtar didn’t let the early slip up dampen their spirits however as they levelled the enoucnter in the 23rd minute. Rakitskiy’s long ball reached Marlos, and he made no mistake in beating David Soria despite several Sevilla defenders rushing in to try and stop him.
The Ukrainian side continued to look like the more dangerous of the two outfits and they were duly rewarded before the end of the first half.
Marlos curled a cross found the head of Taras Stepanenko to put the home side ahead 2-1 and change the complexion of the tie.
Daniel Carrico’s freekick was saved by Pyatov after the break, while Steven N’Zonzi failed to hit the mark as Sevilla started the second half in fine form in search of an equaliser.
Things weren’t made any easier for the away side as Michael Krohn-Dehli went down in a heap after what looked like a simple challenge from Facundo Ferreyra. However his knee buckled, forcing him off.
An equaliser did eventually come, as Ferreyra gave away a penalty for a late tackle on Vitolo. Gameiro stepped up and made no mistake, putting the away side in a commanding position ahead of next Thursday’s return leg at the Estadio Ramn Sanchez Pizjuan.