Sevilla dispose of Rangers to seal top spot

SEVILLE - Sevilla made sure of top spot in Champions League Group G when a Frederic Kanoute penalty gave them a comfortable 1-0 home victory over a toothless Rangers on Wednesday.

Manolo Jimenez's side almost took the lead at their Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in the third minute when a Kanoute effort was cleared off the line.

The referee then waved away their appeal for a Rangers handball in the penalty area from the resulting corner but he was more receptive when Fernando Navarro tumbled over Steven Whittaker's outstretched leg in the seventh minute.

Mali striker Kanoute cooly sent Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor the wrong way from the spot for a deserved lead.

A slick and well-organised Sevilla dominated possession throughout and easily repelled any of the rare forays upfield by their ineffective opponents.

Substitutes Alvaro Negredo and Aldo Duscher both went close to doubling the lead in the second half before Didier Zokora crashed a long-range shot against the post in the 81st minute.

Sevilla, who had already qualified for the knockout stages, amassed 13 points from their six matches. Kanoute's goal was their 150th in European competition and it was their 50th win in 92 matches.

Jimenez said he was pleased Sevilla had reclaimed their place among Europe's 16 elite clubs by topping the group.

"We controlled the match with ease and once again we claimed the points that put us where we need to be," he told the club's website.

"Let's see who we get in the draw and if we have the capacity and confidence needed to know we can beat anyone."

VfB Stuttgart finished second in the group on nine points after the Bundesliga side beat visiting Unirea Urziceni 3-1 to send the Romanians into the Europa League. Rangers, without a win, finished bottom with two points.

The draw for the first knockout round is on December 18 in Nyon, France.