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Europa League: Sevilla On Track For Treble

europa-league-newTwo Kevin Gameiro strikes in the space of two minutes sounded the death knell for UEFA Europa League final hosts Basel, holders Sevilla scampering on into the quarter-finals.

Basel and Sevilla sparred inconsequentially for much of the first half – the Spaniards having the better of the half-chances – before Adil Rami flung himself full length at José Antonio Reyes’s corner from the left, heading in off Tomáš Vaclík’s left-hand post. Even so, an away goal at that stage would have put Basel on top and they nearly got it, David Soria doing superbly to push away Renato Steffen’s glanced effort.

However, things quickly unravelled for Urs Fischer’s side. Reyes cut in from the right, drawing Vaclík and his defenders in before lacing a ball through for Kevin Gameiro to nudge into an empty net. The Frenchman had his second before Basel had time to digest the situation; he headed against the bar from Michael Krohn-Dehli’s cross yet instantly swung out a leg to force the rebound over the line – hitting the woodwork again on the way.

A competition-record 11th successive home victory was never in doubt for Sevilla thereafter, their 150th UEFA competition game much lower on incident after the interval. Substitutes Fernando Llorente and Sergio Escudero were both denied by Vaclík, Escudero having previously cleared a Breel Embolo shot off the line at the other end.

Key man: José Antonio Reyes
A four-time UEFA Europa League winner – twice each with Atlético Madrid and Sevilla – the 32-year-old was the architect of Basel’s downfall. His corner laid on the first for Rami, before his run into the box – and timely pass – cut out the visiting defence and invited Gameiro to notch his first of the night. Can Reyes join his club in lifting the trophy for a fifth time this spring?