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Sevilla v Basel: Rami counting on home support to keep holders alive

Sevilla defender Adil Rami has backed fans at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan to inspire the Europa League holders to victory against Basel on Thursday.

Unai Emery’s side were held to a 0-0 draw in Switzerland in the first leg after being thwarted by some fine saves from goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik, before Steven N’Zonzi was sent off late on.

Basel failed to capitalise on their brief man advantage, meaning the tie remains wide open heading into the return fixture in Spain.

Sevilla come into the game buoyed by their weekend win over top-four rivals Villarreal in La Liga, in which they came from 2-1 down to win 4-2 despite the red card issued to midfielder Ever Banega, and Rami has called for a repeat of the support from the home fans when they welcome the Swiss champions.

“We played well, they only had two or three chances and we had a lot more, but we lacked accuracy from the start,” he said after the match.

“The support of the fans has been key at home, where anything is possible. Here we play as 12, and we feel very comfortable.”

Jose Antonio Reyes added: “We’ve proven once again that we never give up. We faced the final stretch with one player less and the team came out on top. That’s a cause for celebration.”

Basel are desperate to reach a final which is held at their St Jakob Park stadium this season, but the omens do not look good for Urs Fischer’s side.

Sevilla, who will play their 150th UEFA competition match, have won their last two European games at home without conceding and are chasing what would be a record 11th consecutive home victory in the competition.

Basel have not enjoyed their recent visits to Spain, either, having lost 5-0 and 5-1 to Valencia and Real Madrid in their last two trips, both of which came in 2014.

Philipp Degen (shoulder) is out and Michael Lang (ankle) is a doubt, while Walter Samuel’s ban leaves the Super League leaders facing a minor defensive crisis as they look to prolong a run of just one loss in six UEFA competition away games.

Sevilla, however, are not without their own absences. With N’Zonzi banned and wing wizards Vitolo and Yevhen Konoplyanka nursing hamstring injuries, their hopes of keeping up a fearsome run of having scored in every home match since August have taken a knock. Grzegorz Krychowiak (knee) could return.

Tue 15 Mar, 2016
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