Spartak Moscow recorded an emphatic 5-1 victory over Spanish side Sevilla at Otkrytie Arena on Tuesday to notch their first win of their UEFA Champions League campaign.
The result was the perfect response to their fans’ ‘Yes You Can’ message that greeted their heroes as they lined up before kick-off in the form of a special mosaic, each word forming on three different stands.
As the famous Champions League anthem rang out, the mosaic was transformed to ‘Let’s Go’ next to an image of the competition’s trophy, outlining their intent and belief.
It didn’t take long for the team to reply, when on 18 minutes Spartak’s Quincy Promes showed how much he had been missed when injury ruled him out of their first home group game versus Liverpool when he headed home from a beautiful cross from the right hand side.
First blood to the home side. But soon after Aleksandr Samedov, one of Spartak’s most important players going forward, went down with a hamstring injury that will keep him out for three weeks.
He was transported from the pitch in an electric buggy and replaced by Lorenzo Melgarejo in a like for like switch.
Things seemed take a turn from bad to worse for Spartak when Simon Kjaer leveled for Sevilla on the half hour mark to make sure both sides went into the break level.
Spartak began the second half in the same attacking vein as the first. That was rewarded on 58 minutes when substitute Melgarejo slotted home left-footed into the corner to leave the keeper no chance and send Spartak fans into raptures.
A wonder goal from Denis Glushakov then made it 3-1, Spartak’s captain firing home a left-footed volley on 67 minutes before Luiz Adriano left Spartak faithful incredulous.
The Spartak fans showed their delight by imitating the call of the much-loved Iceland supporters’ ‘Thunder Clap’ that first became famous at the 2016 European Championships in France.
In the 90th minute, Dutchman Promes finished what he started by deftly taking down a long ball, cutting in from the wing to beat two Sevilla defenders and rifle the ball past the keeper for the last and best goal of the night.
“Spartak played the ideal game, not giving anything away to the opponent. To find fault in anyone in such a game wouldn’t be right, we need to praise the whole team,” said Spartak manager Massimo Carrera after the game.
“We weren’t playing against boys. Sevilla are a very good team with a collection of good players and have won a few European trophies in recent years. Of course, we had a spot of luck when Aleksandr Selikhov saved us, but that’s not to say we didn’t deserve the win,” he added.
Liverpool beating Maribor 7-0 is understandable, but Spartak battering Sevilla 5-1 is mental.
— Mootaz Chehade (@MHChehade) October 17, 2017
Spartak are now unbeaten in their first three Champions League Group E games, with two draws and a win. Their next game in the competition is the return leg to Sevilla in Spain.