UEFA Europa League holders Sevilla will defend their crown in Warsaw after seeing off Fiorentina 2-0 in the second leg of their semi-final to seal a 5-0 aggregate victory.
Unai Emery’s side lifted the trophy last season with a penalty-shootout win over Benfica, but this tie was a much less nervy affair as goals from Carlos Bacca and Daniel Carrico ended any slim hopes of a Fiorentina comeback at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
The home side – whose last appearance in a European final came 25 years ago – needed to score first to have any realistic ambition of turning the tie around, but Bacca and Carrico both struck from close range in a five-minute spell during the first half.
Sevilla are bidding to become the first club to lift the trophy on four occasions, after claiming back-to-back crowns under Juande Ramos in 2006 and 2007.
Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella called on his side to show great self-belief before the game, but they even failed to take an opportunity that was presented to them when Josip Ilicic missed horribly from the penalty spot in the second half.
Ultimately, it was another accomplished European performance from Emery’s men, who have won 10 and lost just one of their 14 outings in this season’s competition and will head to the final against Dnipro in Warsaw on May 27 as the favourites to retain their title.
Sevilla hardly needed to attack but they were quick out the blocks and felt they should have had a penalty when Aleix Vidal – two-goal hero from the first leg – went down under a challenge from Jose Maria Basanta in the sixth minute, but referee Damir Skomina waved their appeals away.
The hosts responded to that scare and were only denied an opener by a superb reflex save from Sergio Rico, who kept out Gonzalo Rodriguez’s powerful header from Ilicic’s corner.
Midway through the first half, Bacca effectively put the tie to bed with a typical poacher’s finish.
Ever Banega’s free-kick from the right was allowed to travel into the heart of the six-yard box, and the Colombian reacted quickest to prod the ball high into the net for his 26th goal of the season.
Five minutes later, Sevilla underlined their dominance even further as another Banega set-piece picked out an unmarked Coke at the back post, and his cushioned lay-off was smashed home by Carrico from two yards.
David Pizarro and Matias Fernandez went close as Fiorentina attempted to salvage something, but Montella’s wry smile as the half-time whistle sounded told a story, with Mohamed Salah and Ilicic denied by Rico’s double stop as Sevilla continued to shut the door on their opponents after the break.
Fiorentina’s misery was compounded as Ilicic blazed his spot-kick high over the crossbar following Grzegorz Krychowiak’s foul on Pizarro, with attentions now turning to securing a spot in next season’s competition as the race for places in Serie A heats up.
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