Sevilla draws after Liverpool wastes 3-goal lead in CL
SEVILLE, Spain (AP) — With their team down 3-0 after only 30 minutes, some Sevilla fans started heading out of Sanchez Pizjuan-Stadium.
They left too soon.
Sevilla recovered from Liverpool’s blitz start by salvaging a 3-3 draw with an injury-time equalizer in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Roberto Firmino scored twice and set up Sadio Mane’s goal in the first half-hour. But the hosts rallied with a pair of goals by Wissam Ben Yedder in the second half. Guido Pizarro’s late equalizer came from inside the area after Liverpool’s defense failed to fully clear a corner kick.
“Since I was a kid I’ve always dreamed of playing in an important match which was that dramatic and which ended so well,” Pizarro said.
Liverpool could have secured its return to the knockout stage after an eight-year absence, but it heads home for the final round needing not to lose to Spartak Moscow, which was just three points behind.
Spartak, held by last-place Maribor to 1-1 in Russia, remains with a chance of advancing.
Sevilla plays its final Group E game at already eliminated Maribor on Dec. 6, when Liverpool hosts Spartak.
“The first half scoreline was down to individual errors,” Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo said. “What we had to do was react and rely on our personal pride to turn things around. In the second half Liverpool barely crossed the halfway line.”
A home win on Tuesday would have been enough for Sevilla to advance from the group stage for the second consecutive season, but Liverpool shot out of the gate.
Only two minutes in, Philippe Coutinho made a corner cross into the near post, Georginio Wijnaldum deflected the ball toward the far post, and Firmino ran behind defenders to drive his shot home.
The second goal came after Firmino redirected another Coutinho corner from the right side, and Mane made it to the far post to score with a diving header past Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico.
Firmino scored his second on a breakaway spearheaded by Mane down the left side. Mane’s shot from inside the area was stopped by Rico but Firmino was in position to easily tap in the rebound.
“We played a very good first half and we stopped playing football in the second half,” Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp said. “We didn’t play until we conceded the second goal. After that we improved and had a couple of chances, but they got the equalizer. You have to stay in the game and close the game out. That was our main mistake, we didn’t play football.”
Yedder got on the board with a header in the 51st and a penalty kick in the 60th. His first attempt went in but the referee called it back because players entered the penalty area.
Liverpool had its chances to put the game away as Sevilla pressed.
“It’s really disappointing, but it’s still in our hands so we need to focus on the positives,” Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said.
Liverpool is trying to return to the last 16 for the first time since 2008-09, when its run to the quarterfinals was stopped by Chelsea.
The latest result extended Sevilla’s unbeaten streak at home to 26 matches in all competitions, with 17 wins and eight draws.
Sevilla hasn’t lost at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium in almost a year.
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