Villarreal, Sevilla look to make all-Spanish Europa League final (Preview)

Madrid, May 4 (IANS) Spanish football clubs Villarreal and Sevilla look to making it an all-Spanish final in the Europa League when they play their respective semi-final return legs on Thursday night.

Indeed depending on Real Madrid’s result at home to Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday, Spain could supply all four finalists of the Europa League and the UEFA Champions League, reports Xinhua.

Villarreal will travel with high morale to Liverpool’s mythical Anfield Stadium after confirming a place in the qualifying round for next season’s Champions League at the weekend.

Marcelino Garcia’s side will defend a 1-0 lead of the first leg and the Villarreal coach was able to rest players as his side defeated Valencia on Sunday.

He will take his entire squad to Liverpool and has central defender Eric Baily and striker Leo Baptistao available again after muscle injuries.

Liverpool meanwhile will look to maintain the spirit they have shown under Jurgen Klopp and will look for a repeat of the miraculous fightback against Borussia Dortmund in the last round.

Defending champions Sevilla will be favourites to qualify for a third consecutive final after Unai Emery’s side came back from Ukraine with a 2-2 draw against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Seventh in the Spanish league table and assured of a return to the competition next season, Sevilla’s recent form implies they are giving everything to their dream of conquering an incredible third Europa League crown and the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium will be packed to the rafters for the game.

Sevilla are without midfielder Krohn-Dehli, who suffered a bad knee injury in Ukraine, while Jose Antonio Reyes is out after suffering appendicitis, but Emery will be putting his faith in striker Kevin Gameiro to score the goals and Ever Banega to pull the strings in midfield.

If Sevilla have disappointed of late in the La Liga, their Europa form has been outstanding and reaching another European final would take the club and Emery to the verge of history.



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