The two sides meet in the first leg of their semi-final in Spain with the cup holders having seen their 35-match unbeaten home run ended in Saturday’s 3-2 Primera Division defeat to Real Madrid. “We are saddened to have lost at home,” Sevilla coach Unai Emery said. “But I’m proud of the work done by my players. We made Real suffer and we could have even taken a draw.”
Sevilla beat Villarreal 5-2 in the last 16 and won 4-3 on aggregate against Zenit St Petersburg in the quarter-finals of the competition.
Retaining the Europa League title will see Sevilla win the competition for a record fourth time, although overcoming Fiorentina will be a huge task.
Sevilla have won their last seven European home games but have never beaten an Italian side in four previous attempts.
Moreover, Fiorentina are unbeaten in their last 12 European away games.
“It’s going to be a very difficult tie,” Sevilla defender Alex Vidal said. “Fiorentina are fifth in Serie A and have done well in Europe.”
Fiorentina overcame Tottenham, Roma and Dynamo Kiev en route to the last four. The Viola, coached by Vincenzo Montella, halted a four-match losing streak in Serie A with Sunday’s 3-1 triumph over Cesena. No Fiorentina player will be more motivated to win at Sevilla than Spanish winger Joaquin. A youth product of Sevilla’s city rivals Betis, Joaquin played six years in the Beticos’ first team. “It’s a special game for me,” Joaquin said. “My friends from Betis have asked me to beat Sevilla.
“The only one that will have mixed emotions will be my father, who is a Sevilla fan but I’m sure he would like for me to reach the final.”
Meanwhile Napoli captain Marek Hamsik has warned his team-mates not to underestimate Dnipro when they host the Ukrainian giants in this evening’s Europa League semi-final first-leg clash. Dnipro have beaten Olympiacos, Ajax and Club Brugge to reach their first-ever European semi-final.
“Perhaps Dnipro are not as famous as (Europa League semi-finalists) Sevilla and Fiorentina, but they remain a very good side,” Hamsik said. “They have eliminated big clubs.”