Sevilla swats Fio to set Europa final date with Dnipro

Defending champion Sevilla swatted aside Fiorentina 2-0 to reach the UEFA Europa League final 5-0 on aggregate.

Sevilla will meet Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the Polish capital Warsaw on May 27 after the Ukrainian club defeated Napoli 1-0 in Kiev, to go through 2-1 on aggregate. Outsider Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk reached its first European final when striker Yevhen Seleznyov’s header gave it a 1-0 win over Napoli in their Europa League semifinal, second leg and a 2-1 aggregate win.

Carlos Bacca and Daniel Carrico effectively ended any hope Fiorentina had of pulling off an unlikely comeback, as they extended Sevilla’s advantage before the half hour.

Josip Ilicic, who scored five goals in his past three Serie A appearances, missed the chance to net a consolation for Fiorentina from the penalty spot midway through the second half, but then Fiorentina has missed all but one of its penalties in the Italian league this season.

“Fiorentina was a great team to play against,” Sevilla coach Unai Emery said. “We suffered at first and then we played to our strengths. We were wary, we didn’t want to give our opponent chances. Then we scored two goals and that gave us strength.

“This is for all Sevilla fans, because we care about this competition more than anyone.

“I’m tremendously happy with the work of this group. For all they have given to this competition. Now we’ll enjoy this moment and think about the final.”

It will be Sevilla’s fourth final in the past nine years – it won its previous three – and Dnipro’s first.

“Dnipro is there and no one has given it anything,” Emery said. “Knocking out Napoli is an important feat. There are no easy matches, it’s a 50/50 game. We won’t be favorites.”

The winner earns a spot in next season’s Champions League.

Fiorentina, which sits fifth in Serie A, risks missing out on Europe altogether next season after a drop in form, and was booed off the pitch by its fans.

“We weren’t lucky in the two matches, they were at 100 percent and we weren’t,” Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella said. “The team played proudly, and deserve more respect than has been shown. I understand that the public pays for their tickets, but my team don’t deserve their whistles, I’m deeply disappointed.

“We’re heading home really upset, but with our heads held high because of what we’ve done.”

Fiorentina needed a miracle to overturn a 3-0 deficit, and Montella surprisingly dropped Mario Gomez for Ilicic, and did not even bring the Germany striker off the bench.

Fiorentina was also without several players through injury, but started brightly and had chances to get back into the tie, notably when Gonzalo Rodriguez appeared certain to score with a header from point-blank range but Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico pulled off a stunning save.

Sevilla took the lead when Ever Banega’s free kick into the box went through a crowd of players before bouncing onto Bacca’s midriff, and he flicked it into the roof of the net.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN