Sevilla are on the brink of creating history.
While their Champions League campaign this season may have fallen short of their hopes, the Spanish club find themselves in familiar territory with a third Europa League final appearance in as many years.
After wins over Benfica and Dnipro in 2014 and 2015, Sevilla are one match away from becoming the first side to lift the trophy in three successive seasons, with a meeting with Liverpool at St Jakob-Park on Wednesday the final hurdle.
Here, we take a look at how they booked a spot in Basle.
Winning last season’s competition secured Sevilla a place in the 2015-16 Champions League, but they were handed a difficult draw with Juventus, Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach.
With two heavyweights in the group, the Andalusians got off to a great start by overcoming Gladbach 3-0 at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. However, four straight defeats ended their qualification hopes, leaving them fighting the Bundesliga side for third position and a spot in the Europa League.
In their final group-stage outing, Fernando Llorente secured a surprise win over Juventus – his former club – to keep Sevilla’s European campaign alive.
Round of 32 – Molde (3-1 agg)
Sevilla were pitted against Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s Norwegian champions in the first knockout round and Llorente was in the thick of the action once again.
After a quick break the striker squeezed a shot from the edge of the box beyond Ethan Horvath, adding his second after half-time with a powerful drive off Coke’s throughball.
Coke struck the crossbar but Horvath let Kevin Gameiro’s strike slip beneath him for a 3-0 win, with Molde’s victory by a solitary goal in the return leg not enough to stop Unai Emery’s team marching into the next round.
Round of 16 – Basel (3-0 agg)
Sevilla got their first taste of St Jakob-Park in March when they went to Basle for the first leg of their last-16 clash with the Swiss giants, but they were unable to get a taste of victory in a 0-0 draw.
Once again, though, the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan would play host to another pulsating European night. Three goals in the space of a 10-minute first-half spell killed the tie off, and it begun with Adil Rami stopping low to turn Jose Antonio Reyes’ corner into the bottom corner.
Goalkeeper David Soria produced a diving save to stop Rami putting through his own net moments later, but Gameiro scored twice in the space of two minutes and put the result beyond doubt.
Quarter-finals – Athletic Bilbao (3-3 agg, 5-4 on penalties)
The San Mames is a notoriously difficult place to pick up a win, and Sevilla had not managed it since a 4-0 triumph in La Liga in September 2009.
They looked set for a familiar result when veteran striker Aritz Aduriz but Athletic ahead, but a defensive blunder from Iker Muniain enabled Timothee Kolodziejczak to equalise before Vicente Iborra secured a first-leg advantage.
But Sevilla were unable to replicate their dominant home display from the previous round. David Soria let Aduriz’s strike slip between his hands and into the back of the net, but Gameiro restored parity two minutes later. Raul Garcia’s looping header forced extra time, but an additional 30 minutes produced no further goals.
The match went down to a penalty shoot-out, and with the score at 3-3 after six penalties, Benat fired a dreadful spot-kick straight at Soria. Steven N’Zonzi and Gameiro then converted – the latter after officials had to intervene to separate the two sets of players in the centre-circle – putting Emery’s men two matches away from the final.
Semi-finals – Shakhtar Donetsk (5-3 agg)
A swift move saw Sevilla turn defence into attack in a matter of seconds, with Vitolo showing composure to fire beneath Andriy Pyatov inside six minutes.
Marlos pulled Shakhtar level and the Brazilian turned provider for Taras Stepanenko as the Ukrainian’s took the lead 10 minutes before half-time.
Gameiro converted from the spot to ensure a draw in Lviv, and he took just nine minutes to register in the return leg. A cool finish from Eduardo ensured the match went to half-time level on the night, but Gameiro notched his seventh of the campaign after rounding Pyatov.
Brazilian right-back Mariano completed a 3-1 victory with aplomb, bending a low drive with the outside of his boot into the bottom-left corner.
The Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan was in raptures, with another Europa League final appearance secured.
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