In the Europa League quarterfinal first-leg, Sevilla only lost 1-0 at Porto last week, but in today’s second-leg, they demolished them by a score of 4-1 after closing the first half up 3-0. Ivan Rakitic, Vitolo, Carlos Bacca and Kevin Gameiro scored for the hosts while Ricardo Quaresma scored the consolation at the very end.
The game was wide open in the opening half as both the hosts and visitors attacked starting from their own half. Porto could not get too many passes together as Sevilla defended as a team and coach Unai Emery made sure that everyone was positioned accurately. When it came to attacking, they were able to dissect Porto three times within the first half hour.
The player of the game — even though he only scored the opening goal from a penalty — would have to be Croatian international and Sevilla captain, Ivan Rakitic. This man sprinted after every ball, played well even under pressure from two opposing players and rarely made a mistake when passing the ball to a teammate. He actually played like a Spanish international — pass the ball calmly and patiently until a a gap is created. He is going to be Croatia’s best player in the World Cup, even with Luka Modric playing right beside him.
The team played in their usual 4-2-3-1 lineup which enabled them to be ready for any attacks from the 4-3-3 by Porto. Even when Coke was ejected later on in the match, they were able to stay calm and create from the counter, thus, the late goal by Gameiro that made it 4-0. They showed consistency, concentration, patience, dedication, determination and an overall belief that was simply too much to handle for the Portuguese giants.
Now, Sevilla can look forward to facing either Juventus, Benfica or Valencia in the semifinals. The draw will be early tomorrow morning.