Sevilla, after winning their match on penalties, will move on to the semi finals of the Europa League. The visitors though, made the defending champions suffer throughout the two legs. Athletic Club scored twice to send the match to penalties. But Sevilla showed class in the spot kicks, scoring all five of them.
Sevill advance on penalties
For Sevilla, it was Coke who stepped up to the spot first. He ran straight towards the spot, opened up his hips and fired the ball into the net. Coke then proceeded to urge the crowd on, wanting more energy from them. Grzegorz Krychowiak did not have the most confident run up but struck the ball down the middle of the goal.
Yevhen Konoplyanka stuttered a bit before rolling his effort into the bottom right corner. After Benat missed his penalty, Stephen N'Zonzi found the bottom left corner to take the lead. Kevin Gameiro perhaps though, had the best penalty in quite some time. He started his run one way before turning his hips and firing the ball under the crossbar to clinch victory.
Action starts early and often
Aritz Aduriz, the competitions' top goal scorer made his presence known on five minutes. He made a great run to get onto a poor ball from Markel Susaeta, though his run continued to take him wide. Because of this, Aduriz hit a difficult, tight angled shot that got cleared off the near post. His movement though, showed why he is such a threat despite being 35 years old.
Five minutes later, it was Sevilla's turn to have cause some havoc. Following a corner, the ball fell to Michael Krohn-Dehli on the right side of the pitch. The Dane sent in a scintillating cross towards the middle of the area. But waiting there, was the big Adil Rami, who is a central defender by trade. He managed to open up his hips to get a good look at the target, though his shot wound up flying over the top of the cross bar.
Off of a throw-in in the 24th minute, Mikel San Jose did not get enough power on his header inside the box. And once more, Krohn-Dehli was in the right place to hit a volley off the poor clearance. Unfortunately, his effort fell straight into the arms of Iago Herrerin.
Sevilla are chock full of talented attacking footballers. In the 29th minute, Sergio Escudero showed great some technique down the left flank. He cut the ball back to the right with the back of his left foot. And out of frustration, Eneko Boveda dragged him which brought out the first caution of the night.
Athletic had a good opportunity to score late in the opening stanza. Timothée Kolodziejczak battled with Raul Garcia but lost possession in a dangerous spot. The former Atletico man found space in behind the defense as a result, but the effort was poor in the end.
Goals come in spades
Following the restart, another move for Sevilla got started down the left side of the pitch. Kevin Gameiro was free behind the Athletic defenders but was stripped of possession. Vicente Iborra though, was waiting near the top of the 18 yard box. He connected his left foot with the ball and fired it goal-bound only for Herrerin to make a fine stop.
Aduriz made Sevilla pay in the 57th minute. He worked his way down in the left and into the area where he danced his way to open up a bit of space. The veteran striker then proceeded to place his shot into the bottom left corner.
Two minutes later, Sevilla led once more on aggregate. This is no less than what they deserved as they put pressure on Athletic's defense from kickoff. Off of a counterattack, the hosts had a 5 vs. 3 in their final third of the pitch. Krychowiak kept up with the counter down and was fed the ball as he was in a bit of space. He then drove a low cross across the mouth of the goal towards Gameiro. He poked the ball into the back of the net at the far post as he did not have a defender marking him.
Sevilla continued to hunt for a second goal. Gameiro used his speed to get into the box where he unleashed a shot that got saved well by Herrerin. The French striker chased the rebound down and sent a cross towards the other side of the pitch. Mariano sent his own cross back towards the middle. N'Zonzi rose to meet the ball with his head, though he missed the target.
With 10 minutes remaining, Athletic leveled the aggregate score. Beñat lifted an inch-perfect cross into the box which confused the Sevilla goalkeeper. Soria did not know if he should come off his line or stay put. The delivery found the head of Raul Garcia who placed it with precision.
Susaeta had the first opportunity in the extra period, six minutes in. He split two Sevilla defenders chipped his effort up and over Soria. The Athletic captain missed the target by a couple of inches which would have been a vital away goal. The madness continued in extra time, when Coke pulled off an audacious bicycle attempt. He had just come into the match when he was standing near the six yard box before firing his attempt on target.
The draw for the semi-finals of the competition will take place tomorrow afternoon in Switzerland.