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Route to the UEFA Europa League final: Sevilla

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 25 May 2015

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Group Stage

Drawn in Group G, Sevilla progressed as runners-up behind Feyenoord, having taken 11 points from their six matches. Unai Emery’s men won all three home games – 2-0 against Feyenoord, 3-1 over Standard Liege and 1-0 against Rijeka. They fared less well on the road, claiming draws against Rijeka and Liege before a 2-0 defeat in Rotterdam.

Round of 32: February 19 – Sevilla 1 Borussia Monchengladbach 0, February 26 – Borussia Monchengladbach 2 Sevilla 3 (Sevilla win 4-2 on aggregate)

Vicente Iborra’s goal earned a narrow lead heading into the second leg in Germany. An early strike from Carlos Bacca at Borussia Park put Sevilla in control, and after Granit Xhaka levelled on the night Vitolo made it 2-1 midway through the first half. Gladbach responded again through Thorgan Hazard but they were always chasing the tie and Xhaka’s sending off coupled with a second goal for Vitolo ensured Sevilla’s passage through to the next round.

Round of 16: March 12 – Villarreal 1 Sevilla 3,  March 19 – Sevilla 2 Villarreal 1 (Sevilla win 5-2 on aggregate)

Sevilla did not have far to travel for this last-16 encounter, and they made a stunning start as Vitolo scored the fastest goal in Europa League history in the first leg – his volley hitting the net after just 13 seconds. Stephane M’Bia added a second and although Luciano Vietto pulled one back for the home side, Kevin Gameiro restored the holders’ two-goal advantage to put them in a position of real strength. Goals from Iborra and Denis Suarez – either side of Giovani dos Santos’ free-kick – settled the second leg.

Quarter-Finals: April 16 – Sevilla 2 Zenit 1, April 23 – Zenit 2 Sevilla 2 (Sevilla win 4-3 on aggregate)

A stern test of Sevilla’s credentials. Zenit looked on course to inflict a first home Europa League defeat in eight matches after Alexander Ryazantsev put them ahead in the first leg. However, Bacca and Suarez both came off the bench to score in the final 20 minutes as Emery’s substitutions proved inspired. Bacca was back in the starting line-up for the clash in Russia and put Sevilla further ahead in the tie with an early penalty. Second-half goals from Salomon Rondon and Hulk meant the quarter-final looked to be heading for extra time, but another replacement came up trumps as Gameiro stepped off the bench to net the decisive goal five minutes from the end.

Semi-Finals: May 7 – Sevilla 3 Fiorentina 0, May 14 – Fiorentina 0 Sevilla 2 (Sevilla win 5-0 on aggregate)

Oddly, the most comfortable of Sevilla’s knockout ties. Fiorentina missed a handful of golden opportunities in the first half at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, and were made to pay. Aleix Vidal scored twice, before once again Gameiro made an impact from the bench with the third 15 minutes from time. With one foot already in the final, Sevilla made short work of quashing any faint Fiorentina hopes of a comeback in the away leg. Quickfire goals in the first half from Bacca and Daniel Carrico put the tie to bed, and Sevilla were able to cruise into a final date with Dnipro, where they will aim to become the first club to lift the trophy on four occasions.

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