December 7, 2016 / 9:47 PM / 10 months ago

Cool Sevilla hold off Lyon to reach last 16

Football Soccer - Olympique Lyon v Sevilla - UEFA Champions League Group Stage - Group stage - Stade de Lyon - Decines, France - 7/12/16. Sevilla's Steven N'Zonzi in action with Olympique Lyon's Mapou Yanga Mbiwa. REUTERS/Robert Pratta

LYON, France (Reuters) - Sevilla kept their cool to hold Olympique Lyonnais to a goalless away draw and secure their spot in the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time since the 2010 season on Wednesday.

The Spanish team, who have won the last three editions of the Europa League, came under intense pressure as Lyon needed to win by two goals to advance but ended up second in Group H with 11 points, three behind Juventus who beat Dinamo Zagreb 2-0.

Lyon, who finished third on eight points, will play in the Europa League’s round of 32 while Dinamo were eliminated from all continental competitions after failing to earn a point.

“We were on the back foot, especially in the first half, but we were solid enough to qualify,” Sevilla midfielder Steven N‘Zonzi said.

Lyon’s Mathieu Valbuena, who was a constant threat, rued his team’s missed chances.

“We didn’t want to to regret anything and yet here we are, regretting the chances we failed to convert, starting with mine,” he said.

“In the Champions League, you just cannot waste opportunities, you have to score.”

Keeper Anthony Lopes, who had ear problems after having firecrackers thrown at him in a league game at Metz last weekend, started for Lyon while Samir Nasri featured in Sevilla’s starting 11, making his comeback from injury.

Football Soccer - Olympique Lyon v Sevilla - UEFA Champions League Group Stage - Group stage - Stade de Lyon - Decines, France - 7/12/16. Olympique Lyon's Nabil Fekir in action with Sevilla's Gabriel Mercado. REUTERS/Robert Pratta

The hosts began brightly and in the third minute, Valbuena’s superb attempt on the turn from just inside the box was tipped over the bar by Sergio Rico.

Sevilla had a huge opportunity in the 19th when Vitolo, after being set up by a fine through ball from Nasri, hit Lopes’s left post.

Football Soccer - Olympique Lyon v Sevilla - UEFA Champions League Group Stage - Group stage - Stade de Lyon - Decines, France - 7/12/16. Sevilla's Sergio Escudero (C) in action with Olympique Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette and Rafael. REUTERS/Robert Pratta

Five minutes later, it was Corentin Tolisso who hit the bar with a powerful header from Rafael’s pin-point cross.

Tolisso came close again eight minutes before the break, setting up Valbuena on the left flank for the France international to curl a shot that clipped the bar.

Defender Mouctar Diakhaby had a decent chance in the 71st but his header went just wide as Lyon continued to press in the second half.

Centre back Gabriel Mercado picked up a yellow card, meaning he will be suspended for the first leg of Sevilla’s last-16 tie.

Both teams had several big penalty shouts but all were ignored by Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson.

France forward Nabil Fekir replaced Rachid Ghezzal in the 65th but although he and fellow second-half substitutes Clement Grenier and Maxwel Cornet brought speed up front, Lyon failed to join fellow French league clubs Paris St Germain and Monaco in the first knockout round.

Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Clare Fallon and Ian Chadband

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