By Tim Hanlon
Sevilla’s 34-match unbeaten home run may be over but the attacking flair they showed against Real Madrid leaves them full of confidence ahead of their Europa League semi-final against Fiorentina on Thursday (10.05pm).
The Andalusian side should be buoyed by a performance that demonstrated their free-flowing football, spearheaded by 25-goal hit-man Carlos Bacca who has been tormenting defences across Europe all season.
The Europa League holders lie fifth in La Liga and now turn their attention to the semi-final first leg against Fiorentina.
Sevilla have clicked during the second half of the season and are playing an important part in the La Liga title race where they are only the second team to take points off leaders Barcelona in 28 games.
They held Barca to a 2-2 draw last month while Real just hung on for a 3-2 victory on Saturday in a game where the visitors scored twice when Grzegorz Krychowiak was off the pitch for treatment.
With wingers of the calibre of Jose Antonio Reyes, Aleix Vidal and Vitolo they have been able to run ragged the tightest of defences and they have the strength in depth to compete in Europe and fight for a Champions League place in La Liga.
“The team is physically and mentally strong and the defeat (against Real) won’t affect us at all, it will make us stronger as we showed we were able to take the game to one of the best sides, if not the best, in the world,” Bacca told reporters.
“We feel strong and while it is disappointing that the record has come to an end, we knew it would at some point. The most important thing is the way we played and that we remained faithful to our style of football.”
Fiorentina beat lowly Cesena on Sunday having lost their previous four Serie A games.
“This win gives us belief and also puts us back in fifth (in Serie A),” coach Vincenzo Montella told reporters.
“Now we are only thinking of Sevilla who are a very solid team defensively and who know how to attack.”