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Friday 21 October 2016

Sevilla on course for fourth Europa League title in 10 years after Fiorentina cruise

Published 14/05/2015 | 22:18

Sevilla players celebrate at the end of the match
Reuters / Giampiero Sposito
Sevilla players celebrate at the end of the match Reuters / Giampiero Sposito

Holders Sevilla stormed through to the Europa League final after completing a semi-final mauling of Fiorentina in Florence.

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Leading 3-0 from the first leg, Sevilla netted twice in the opening half-hour through Carlos Bacca and Daniel Carrico at the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Thursday to end any faint hopes of a Fiorentina comeback.

The hosts could have pulled a goal back in the second half but Josip Ilicic smashed wildly over from the penalty spot, leaving Sevilla winners 2-0 on the night and 5-0 on aggregate.

Unai Emery's Sevilla will now face Ukrainian side Dnipro in the final in Warsaw on May 27, where the Spanish side will look to win the tournament for a fourth time in 10 years having also done so in 2006 and 2007 in its previous guise as the UEFA Cup.

With such a big mountain to climb from the first leg, Fiorentina had little option but to take the game to Sevilla and Mohamed Salah saw an early shot blocked before Gonzalo Rodriguez brought a fine save out of Sergio Rico with a glancing header.

That gave hope to the home fans, but the Italian club's dreams of reaching a first European final since 1990 were extinguished as Sevilla struck twice from dead-ball situations in the space of five minutes.

The opener, after 22 minutes, saw Ever Banega's low free-kick go through a group of players before reaching Bacca, who took a touch before poking his shot into the roof of the net from point-blank range for his 26th goal of the season.

The Fiorentina defence was then opened up too easily once again as Sevilla grabbed a killer second away goal.

Another Banega free-kick, this time from near the halfway line, was superbly drilled in towards the far post where Coke's volleyed cross deflected off home defender Jose Maria Basanta to the unmarked Carrico, who slotted home from two yards out.

There was no way back for Fiorentina after that double blow, although they did not give in and fought to at least try and avoid defeat on the night.

David Pizarro drew another good save from Rico with a swerving, dipping 25-yard shot while Matias Fernandez, Salah and Josip Ilicic all saw efforts go wide before the break.

Inevitably though, while Fiorentina pushed for a response, they left space at the back and Coke missed a decent chance to make it 3-0 when he fired over on the half-volley.

Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella shuffled his side's formation around at half-time and they continued to create chances, with Rico doing superbly again in the 52nd minute to parry Salah's low shot and then deny Ilicic on the follow-up.

The Viola were then gifted a great chance to pull a goal back in the 65th minute when Grzegorz Krychowiak clumsily brought down Pizarro in the area.

However, Ilicic wasted the opportunity as he blazed his left-footed penalty high over the bar to sum up Fiorentina's semi-final.

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