Sevilla beat slumping Stuttgart 3-1 on Tuesday for its third win in three games in the Champions League.
Defender Sebastien Squillaci scored two goals for Sevilla, one in each half, and substitute Jesus Navas added the other for the Spanish side. Substitute Elson scored for Stuttgart.
The Spanish side now has nine points to lead Group G halfway into the group stage. Unirea Urziceni is second at four points after beating the Rangers 4-1 in Glasgow. Stuttgart has two points and the Rangers one.
“We played good football for long stretches against one of the best teams in Europe, but we gifted the goals,” Stuttgart’s captain Thomas Hitzlsperger said.
Aleksandr Hleb created Stuttgart’s first big opportunity when he fed Cacau on the left with a long pass, but the striker shot straight at goalkeeper Javi Varas, who filled in for the injured Andres Palop.
Stuttgart found the net shortly afterward through Zdravko Kuzmanovic but the score was disallowed because Khalid Boulahrouz had obstructed Varas while standing offside.
Although Stuttgart dominated the early stage, it was Sevilla that scored first. Adriano crossed to the far post and Squillaci rose above Boulahrouz to head past Jens Lehmann in the 23rd.
Stuttgart kept attacking but Sevilla threatened more and Lehmann was forced to rush off his line to deny Luis Fabiano.
Fabiano was replaced at halftime by Diego Perotti and he set up Sevilla’s second goal in the 55th with a cross that Lehmann fumbled, and Navas easily prodded the ball into the net.
“We keep making mistakes at key moments, I can’t explain it,” Stuttgart’s coach Markus Babbel said. “We dominated long stretches and played well.”
Frederic Kanoute broke clear and had only Lehmann to beat, but the striker took one step too many and Boulahrouz rushed back to clear.
Squillaci got his second with another header, this time from a free kick from Ivica Dragutinovic in the 72nd.
Stuttgart replied quickly when substitute Elson curled in a free kick over the wall from 20 meters (yards) two minutes later.
Stuttgart had more chances but could not score again. Julian Schieber was alone in front of Varas but sent his shot wide, while Serdar Tasci struck the crossbar, leaving Stuttgart without a win in its last six home games in all competitions.