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Celta Vigo 2 Sevilla 2 (2-6 agg): Aspas brace in vain as Emery´s men reach final

Sevilla reached their first Copa del Rey final since 2010 following a 2-2 second-leg draw with Celta Vigo in a helter-skelter semi-final at Balaidos.

Going into the meeting with a four-goal lead from the first leg, Sevilla were always hot favourites to set up a final showdown against holders Barcelona, but found themselves 2-0 down just after half-time thanks to a brace from their former striker Iago Aspas.

Ever Banega’s effort left Celta needing to score four more goals in the final half-hour, however, and, when John Guidetti missed a penalty moments later, home hopes subsided. Yevhen Konoplyanka tapped home a late equaliser for the visitors.

Sevilla, who are now unbeaten in 11 matches in all competitions, will face Barca in the May showpiece courtesy of their 6-2 aggregate victory. For Celta, a first Copa final since 2001 will have to wait.

In the pouring rain, neither side threatened the opposing goalkeeper until the 31st minute, when Sergio Rico did well to hold on to Aspas’ shot across the face of goal.

Ten minutes before the break, however, Aspas gave the hosts hope with his first goal in six matches. A swift counter-attack ended with the former Liverpool striker tapping in at the back post following a well-weighted cross from Fabian Orellana.

Sevilla almost cancelled out Aspas’ strike two minutes before the break, but, after rising highest to meet a left-wing corner, Daniel Carrico headed against the outside of the right-hand post.

Rico made a fortunate save with his legs from Guidetti’s flicked header just after half-time and the Sevilla goalkeeper enjoyed a huge let-off moments later when he failed to claim an aerial ball in the box and Aspas nodded wide from six yards out.

The frontman made no mistake with his next sight of goal in the 55th minute. Daniel Wass fired at goal from the right and, when Rico could not hold onto the shot, Aspas headed home from close range.

The home fans briefly must have believed in the most unlikely of comebacks, but it took less than two minutes for the visitors to change the tie again. Banega found space 15 yards out to steer his low shot into the bottom right-hand corner.

Celta should have pulled one back in the 59th minute when Rico upended Guidetti in the area, only for the Swede to strike a post from the subsequent penalty, as the pace of the game reached a furious tempo in increasingly terrible conditions at Balaidos.

With standing water starting to appear, however, Celta found it ever harder to create chances in front of goal and, when they finally did in the 79th minute, Rico made an excellent save from Orellana. 

Despite an impressive showing, Celta could not hang on to the scant consolation of victory on the evening, as Konoplyanka was left with a simple tap-in from Vitolo’s cross with a minute remaining.

Thu 11 Feb, 2016
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