Sevilla’s quest for a record-breaking third consecutive Europa League triumph remains on course after they beat Basel 3-0 to reach the quarter-finals.
Entering the second leg following a 0-0 draw in Switzerland, a quick brace of goals from Kevin Gameiro after Adil Rami opened the scoring wrapped up the tie in the space of 10 first-half minutes as Sevilla put a dent in Basel’s impressive away record in Europe.
The result extended Sevilla’s sequence of Europa League home wins to 11 – the longest in the competition’s history – and Unai Emery’s men have won 17 straight games in all competitions at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
The ground has become one of European football’s fortresses in the 2015-16 season, and few teams left in the competition will fancy their chances of getting a result in Andalucia in the quarter-finals.
Basel’s exit from the competition means they miss out on the chance to play a European final on home turf; the Europa League final will be played at their St Jakob-Park on May 18.
The returning Jose Antonio Reyes was heavily involved from the outset, linking up with Michael Krohn-Dehli to create the first chance for Gameiro, whose close-range shot drew a reflex save from Tomas Vaclik.
Sevilla’s fast breaks and intricate passing had Basel on the ropes, and only a timely interception by Daniel Hoegh stopped Vicente Iborra from turning Gameiro’s low cross into the net.
The home side drew first blood in the tie when Rami stooped to head a Reyes corner in off the post, but Sevilla only held the lead thanks to a world-class save from goalkeeper David Soria that prevented an Iborra own goal.
The match then slipped out of Basel’s reach inside two minutes at the end of the first half.
Reyes danced through the Basel defence and his low cross gave Gameiro the easiest of finishes from close range.
A minute later, Krohn-Dehli was the provider with a run and cross that found Gameiro, and the striker’s header came back of the underside of the crossbar and bounced in off his leg to make it 3-0.
Denmark international Krohn-Dehli continued to pull the strings after the break, and his deft back-heel put Mariano through to shoot just wide as Sevilla went in search of a fourth goal.
Sevilla coach Emery, perhaps with an eye on his side’s next match against Real Madrid, substituted Krohn-Dehli and the pace of the game dropped off thereafter.
Gameiro too was hauled off as Basel showed little sign of launching a fightback. Luca Zuffi’s effort from 25 yards out was still rising as it flew over the crossbar, while Breel Embolo missed two chances late on as the Swiss side were dumped out of the competition.