Napoli Stutter As Sevilla All But Seal Their Place in Europa League Final

Napoli were highly fancied to waltz past the Ukrainian side, and after an action-packed first half they took the lead in the second period through David Lopez.
Rafa Benitez’s men looked to seize the initiative in the tie by piling forward, and Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain missed a hatful of chances to press home their advantage.
But as so often happens in football, Dnipro went down the other end and scored completely against the run of play; substitute Yevhen Seleznyov netting what could be a crucial away goal.
Interestingly, the bookmakers are still confident that the Italian side will prevail and book their place in the final next Thursday. They are offering odds as low as 10/11 that Napoli – who are hunting their first European title since Diego Maradona led them to the UEFA Cup crown in 1989 – will triumph in the Ukraine.
Benitez is also looking to become the first manager in history to win the Europa League with three different clubs, having won the crown in 2004 with Valencia and in 2013 while at the helm of Chelsea.
But this doesn’t do Dnipro any justice at all: they have yet to taste defeat at home in the competition this season – defeating the likes of Ajax, Olympiakos and Club Brugge along the way. Their progress in the knockout stages of the Europa League has been based on doing a job in the away leg and then dominating at home – and you can back them from 3/1 to repeat that trick on May 14.

Sevilla Soar As Fiorentina Falter

In the other semi final, Sevilla all but cemented their place in the final with a comfortable 3-0 home victory over Fiorentina.
Right back Aleix Vidal did the damage – scoring twice and creating the third, as the Spanish side put one foot in the final, which takes place in Warsaw on May 27.
The margin of victory could have been even greater too, had referee Felix Brych not blown the half-time whistle just as Sevilla midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak was brought down in the penalty area.
The Spanish side, managed by Unai Emery, have lifted the Europa League trophy (and its UEFA Cup equivalent) on no less than three occasions; and will be planning to make it four at the end of the month. They are big favourites at 8/11 to do just that.
But Napoli (7/4) – and Dnipro (5/1) for that matter – may yet have something to say about that.

Craig Simpkin

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