Bolton Wanderers 1 Seville 1: Bolton keep European adventure alive thanks to N'Gotty

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The Independent Football

Bolton Wanderers' European adventure continues. Not with a swagger or any great conviction - even with some anticlimax.

But, thanks to a first goal in 23 months by their half-time substitute, Bruno N'Gotty last night, they collected the points they needed to render Besiktas' victory in Portugal academic and advanced from Group H of the Uefa Cup in the third and last qualifying place. Their slender progress to tomorrow's draw for the competition's final 32 carries on the rise and rise of a club who had not tasted European football before this season.

Not so satisfying, though, was the public response. Only 15,623 turned up at the Reebok Stadium even though the Bolton manager, Sam Allardyce, had described this as one of the biggest nights of his career.

The proclamation did not rouse the floating fan and maybe the manager can understand the indifference. He clearly has bigger fish to fry and made six changes to Saturday's starting side.

"The object of the exercise has been achieved,'' Allardyce said. "It would have been nice to win and top the group but a point was enough and it's a great feeling to look forward to the draw and know we can park this competition until February.

"It was a strange night. We had a link to watch Besiktas and it's a great occasion in terms of what we've achieved.

"If the draw is kind to us, who knows how far we can go? The lads do not want to lose out in any competition. They are hungry for success."

Seville go forward as group winners and caused the odd flutter in the final 16 minutes after they, too, had scored through a substitute, the Brazilian Adriano.

The feeling at the final whistle, though, was somewhat muted after a mediocre meeting of two teams for whom victory was not the top priority.

The Spaniards, eighth in La Liga despite two recent defeats, had already qualified and, in apparent contradiction of promises not to ease off, named six reserves in their starting XI, including two players making their first appearances of the season.

Javier Saviola and Frédéric Kanouté were on the bench, from where they were able to look along the touchline at an equally powerful array of home substitutes.

Bolton set off brightly enough and soon caused trouble via familiar set-piece means.

Radhi Jaidi hooked narrowly over from Jay Jay Okocha's long throw and, after El Hadji Diouf had done the same following a surge past two defenders, Okocha saw a long-range effort glanced off target by David Prieto's head.

But, when a goal seriously threatened in the 28th minute, it was at the end patrolled by Ian Walker, who replaced Jussi Jaaskelainen under Allardyce's familiar Uefa Cup goalkeeper rotation policy.

In a sudden burst of life, Seville cut a swathe down Bolton's left. Luis Fabiano accelerated on to a return pass by Jordi Lopez, wrong-footed Tal Ben Haim and rifled a powerful 15-yard shot against the foot of the far post.

Bolton, having billed this as their toughest assignment yet in the competition, had further support for that claim soon afterwards. Fabiano set up Antonio Puerta in space at an angle, only for his shot to be struck straight at Walker.

With N'Gotty on at full-back for hamstring injury victim Ricardo Gardner at half-time, Bolton seemed content with what they had got.

But breathing space came their way in the 65th minute when Khalilou Fadiga's in-swinging right- wing corner missed its intended target and dropped invitingly for N'Gotty to control and hammer home from six yards.

Bolton were reminded nine minutes later that the job was not yet over when Marti played Adriano in on the right of the penalty area to beat Walker with an assured side-foot finish.

Adriano then saw an effort blocked near the line by N'Gotty, whose last goal had come in Bolton's Carling Cup semi-final against Aston Villa in January last year.

Bolton Wanderers (4-1-4-1): Walker; Hunt, Ben Haim, Jaidi, Gardner, (N'Gotty, h-t); Faye (Speed, 55); Nakata, Okocha, Fadiga, Diouf; Davies (Vaz Te, 65). Substitutes not used: Jaaskelainen (gk) Nolan, Giannakopoulos, Borgetti.

Seville (4-3-3): Natario; Crespo, Prieto, Alfaro, Dragutinovic; Lopez (Adriano, 67), Pablo (Ocio, 58), Marti; Fabiano, Kepa (Saviola, 73), Puerta. Substitutes not used: Palop (gk), Kanouté, Navas, Capel.

Referee: M Weiner (Germany).