SEVILLE, Spain (AP) — United States international Ricardo Pepi came off the bench to help PSV Eindhoven rally from two goals down against Sevilla and advance to the knockout stage of the Champions League for the first time since 2015-16.
Pepi entered the match in the 83rd minute and scored the winner in stoppage time to give PSV a 3-2 victory over 10-man Sevilla on Wednesday.
“To be honest, when I saw that we scored the 2-2 goal, I talked to (teammate) Patrick (van Aanholt) and I said, ‘This is our moment,’” Pepi said. “We felt like it was an important goal that we scored and we knew the winner was coming.”
The Dutch club secured qualification after Group B leader Arsenal routed third-place Lens 6-0 in London.
PSV had eight points, four behind Arsenal and three ahead of Lens, which loses the head-to-head tiebreaker with PSV.
Sevilla stayed with two points and was eliminated. It will fight for third-place — and a Europa League spot — when it visits Lens in the final round. It is the third straight season the Spanish club has failed to advance past the group stage.
“In the Champions League, the small details will make the difference,” said veteran defender Sergio Ramos, who scored the 10,000th goal in Champions League history from group stage to final. “We were in control but going a man down turned out to be crucial.”
It was PSV’s first away win in the Champions League since 2007. It has won consecutive games in the competition — excluding the qualifying rounds — for the first time since the 2006-07 season, when it won three in a row in the group stage on its way to the quarterfinals, when it was eliminated by Liverpool. PSV had beaten Lens in the previous round.
Sevilla opened the scoring in the 24th minute with Ramos getting his first goal since returning to Sevilla.
Youssef En-Nesyri added to the lead in the 47th but PSV rallied after Sevilla forward Lucas Ocampos was sent off with a second yellow card in the 66th for a dangerous sliding tackle.
Ismael Saibari pulled the visitors closer two minutes later with a neat left-footed flick from inside the area off a cross by U.S. defender Sergiño Dest, and PSV equalized with an own-goal by Nemanja Gudelj in the 81st before Pepi got the winner with a header from near the penalty spot two minutes in stoppage time.
Sevilla midfielder Fernando was sent off in the final minutes.
The hosts had a few chances to add to its lead in the first half, first when Djibril Sow had a goal disallowed by video review for a handball in the 39th, and then a minute later when En-Nesyri hit the crossbar with a dangerous header.
The 37-year-old Ramos scored the milestone 10,000th goal after a free kick taken by Ivan Rakitic. It was the veteran defender’s first goal with Sevilla since he scored in a 2-2 draw against Real Madrid in 2005, before he joined the Spanish powerhouse.
“We have to keep our heads high,” Ramos said. “But it’s disappointing, because it’s not always that you can be part of this competition. It was a tough loss for the club today.”
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