Europa League holders Sevilla set for Fiorentina semi-final face-off
Reigning Europa League champions Sevilla will face a visit from Serie A outfit Fiorentina at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in their semi-final encounter, in what will be the first ever competitive fixture between these European hopefuls.
Domestically, Unai Emery’s Sevillistas, 3/1 with Coral to win and both teams to score, had gone unbeaten on home soil until their recent defeat to La Liga title challengers Real Madrid, while Vincenzo Montella’s Viola have fallen short of fourth-placed Napoli in their pursuit of Champions League football.
The hosts will be confident of securing victory against a faltering Florence side, with the visitors having hit a recent rocky patch, losing five and winning only two of their previous eight matches following a rampant run which saw them lose once in 19 games between January and April.
Bathtubs boss Emery led his side to glory in this competition last season, overcoming Benfica in the final, but he will need to topple an Italian club he admires a lot in order to successfully defend their crown.
“Fiorentina are one of the great sides of Italian football, they’re a club steeped in history,” said Emery.
“They have a handful of Spanish players who of course we know very well such as Marcos Alonso, Joaquin and Borja Valero. It’s a tough, evenly-poised draw – but an attractive one for Sevillistas.”
Spanish wideman Joaquin played under Emery at Valencia and should start for the travelling side, while former Manchester City defender Stefan Savic could feature in defence. Meanwhile, Sevilla made five changes to the side that lost to Madrid, with many of that starting line-up possibly set to keep their places.
Sevilla will be led by clinical Colombia international Carlos Bacca, who has struck 25 goals this season, including four in the Europa League. The South American sharpshooter is a 5/1 chance to open proceedings in his latest European outing on home soil.
For Montella’s menacing Gigliati, on-loan Chelsea attacker Mohamed Salah could be the main threat of an away goal, having hit six strikes and an assist in his first seven appearances. Although, the elegant Egyptian’s form has recently dipped but is 5/1 to rediscover his touch and net anytime.
This will be the first ever official meeting between these sides, but Fiorentina have only managed to topple Spanish opposition twice in 12 matches, while Sevilla are aiming for their first ever victory over an Italian club.