Sevilla and Dnipro advance to Europa league final
Defending champions Sevilla progressed to the final of the Europa League on Thursday night with a comfortable victory over Fiorentina. Dnipro will play the La Liga outfit in the final on 27 May after edging past another Serie A team Napoli.
Sevilla will have a firm eye on the record books when they play Dnipro in the Europa league final on 27 May at the National Stadium in Warsaw.
The Spanish side will be not only hoping to retain the trophy they won last year in Turin against Benfica but also become the first club to claim the crown for a fourth time.
Before the Europa League emerged from the Uefa Cup in 2009, Juventus, Liverpool and Inter Milan had taken the title three times apiece.
Sevilla advanced to the final in style. They beat Fiorentina 5-0 on aggregate while Dnipro, their opponents in the Polish capital had an edgier time against an Italian team.
The Ukrainians won the second leg at home 1-0 to get past Napoli 2-1 on aggregate. As in the first leg on 7 May, Yevhen Seleznyov was on the scoresheet. He headed past keeper Mariano Andujar in the 58th minute to set up Dnipro's chance for glory.
The 29-year-old Ukraine international is looking for his second winners medal in the competition having collected one in 2009 while at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Sevilla will provide tough opposition for Dnipro. Two goals in five first-half minutes killed off any hopes of a Fiorentina revival.
The Colombian striker Carlos Bacca got the first in the 22nd minute and five minutes later David Carrico tapped in the second.
That made it 5-0 on aggregate to the Spaniards. After that Fiorentina were playing for damage limitation.
"We weren't very lucky, at least with the amount of chances we created over the two legs," said Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Montella. "Sevilla had a good rate of success."
Dnipro will hope to carry their form into this weekend's round of games in the Premier League. They are third and travel to leaders Dynamo Kyiv. A win for the hosts will secure the title while victory for the visitors will maintain their hopes of grabbing second place, which offers a slot in the qualifying rounds for next season's Uefa Champions League.
Sevilla, who are fifth in La Liga, have to hope that Valencia slip up in their last two games against Celta Vigo and Almeria to have a chance of obtaining fourth position which is the route to the qualifiers for the Champions League.
Of course, Dnipro and Sevilla can go straight into the group stages of next term's Champions League if they win the final in Warsaw.
It's a new and rather quirky carrot proffered by the bigwigs at Uefa. And it's one that won't be rejected.
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe