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Basel v Sevilla: Escudero dreams of Europa League glory

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 8 Mar 2016

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Sevilla defender Sergio Escudero believes they have what it takes to successfully defend their Europa League title ahead of the first leg of their round of 16 tie with Basel on Thursday.

The Liga outfit defeated Dnipro 3-2 in last season’s final to win the trophy for a second year in a row and they have now set their sights on what would be a record-breaking third consecutive triumph.

Having dropped into the competition from the Champions League, Unai Emery’s men saw off Norwegian side Molde in the last 32 and Escudero now targets Basel’s scalp at the St Jakob-Park with an eye on a return to Switzerland for the final on May 18.

“Basel await on Thursday and we want to get a good result there,” Escudero said at a news conference.

“We are dreaming of winning the Europa League again. We have a great squad, great individual players and we have what it takes to compete in any competition.

“We hope to return to Basel later this season for the final. It would be a dream to win the Europa League again, but we are taking things one step at a time.

“We always work hard to win, regardless of whether we play at home or away, but the results have not been going our way in away matches. But we are desperate to win away from home as well to cap our good run of form.”

The sides have never met before in UEFA competition, but Basel will draw confidence from both their own home form and Sevilla’s struggles away in Europe during the current campaign.

Basel have lost just once in six European home games this season (winning three, drawing two and losing one), whereas Sevilla have lost all four of their continental away fixtures in 2015-16. Additionally, Emery’s men have won just three matches on the road in all competitions this term.

The Swiss champions will have to make do without the services of Breel Embolo due to suspension, while Manuel Akanji (knee), Jean-Paul Boetius (ankle) and Andraz Sporar (foot) are all unavailable due to injury.

Sevilla, meanwhile, are without Nico Pareja due to a knee injury, while Grzegorz Krychowiak has been struggling with an ankle problem but took part in full training with the squad on Tuesday.

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