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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Sevilla seek return to winning ways at home to Fiorentina in Europa League showdown

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (C) is challenged by Sevilla's Grzegorz Krychowiak (L) and Diogo Gomes Figueiras during their Spanish first division soccer match at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville, southern Spain
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (C) is challenged by Sevilla's Grzegorz Krychowiak (L) and Diogo Gomes Figueiras during their Spanish first division soccer match at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville, southern Spain

Sevilla are targeting an immediate return to winning ways at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium when they host Fiorentina in tonigt’s Europa League semi-final first leg clash.

The two sides meet 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 to the Spanish media. “But I’m proud of the work done by my players.

“We made Real suffer and we could have taken a draw.”

The defeat dropped Sevilla to fifth position in the La Liga standings, three points adrift of Valencia, who hold the last Champions League qualifying place.

“Our options in both La Liga and Europe remain intact,” Emery (below) said.

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.”

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.”

Sevilla expect to recover Portuguese goalkeeper Beto, who is struggling with a shoulder injury while midfielder Gregory Krychowiak will wear a protective mask after suffering a nose fracture against Real.

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