Holders Sevilla sweep into Europa League final
FLORENCE, ITALY – Holders Sevilla swept into a second consecutive Europa League final when a 2-0 victory at Fiorentina on Thursday secured a crushing 5-0 aggregate success for the La Liga club in their semi-final tie.
Sevilla had all-but booked their place in the showpiece in Warsaw after thumping the Italian side 3-0 in last week’s first leg in Spain and will seal a record fourth triumph in Europe’s second-tier club competition if they can overcome Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk on May 27.
The Ukrainians won 1-0 at home to Fiorentina’s Serie A rivals Napoli to progress to their first European final 2-1 on aggregate.
Sevilla coach Unai Emery paid tribute to his players, who also dispatched Borussia Moenchengladbach, Villarreal and Zenit St Petersburg in the knockout rounds.
“Dnipro have made it and nobody has gifted them anything,” Emery told Spanish television broadcaster Cuatro.
“Knocking out Napoli is an impressive achievement,” he added. “It’s not going to be easy, it’s 50-50 and we won’t be going there as favourites.”
Carlos Bacca fired Sevilla ahead in the 22nd minute at the Stadio Comunale Artemio Franchi in Florence when he sent a close-range effort arrowing into the roof of the net.
That left Fiorentina needing five goals without reply to progress but they fell further behind when Daniel Carrico made it 2-0 to the visitors five minutes later.
Fiorentina’s night went from bad to worse midway through the second half when Josip Ilicic sent a penalty kick sailing over the crossbar after Sevilla defender Grzegorz Krychowiak had felled David Pizarro in the penalty area.
If Sevilla clinch a fourth UEFA Cup/Europa league crown in their fourth final they would surpass Inter Milan, Juventus and Liverpool, who also have three.
Sevilla won back-to-back UEFA Cups in 2006 and 2007 and beat Benfica on penalties to secure the renamed trophy last term.
Another triumph would also carry a lucrative berth in the group stage of next season’s Champions League. – Reuters