Sevilla were fortunate to win 2-0 against Valencia in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final, as the first of their two goals was scored by an offside Stephane M’Bia who backheeled the ball to break the deadlock. The second was scored minutes later by Colombian international striker Carlos Bacca. This would settle the aggregate score.
Valencia were still reeling from the error made by the referee to allow the first goal when the second one was scored. When the second half came around, Sevilla knew what to expect as Valencia had to open up a bit more in order to create some more offense. Unfortunately for the visitors, breaking down the hosts’ defense to beat the keeper was never going to happen.
Let’s remember that Valencia lost 3-0 at Basel in the first leg before winning 5-0 at home after extra time in the second. Winning 2-0 to force extra time against Sevilla at home next week is nowhere near out of the question, but they need to know that they are facing 2x champions of this competition when it was the UEFA Cup back in 2006 and 2007. Winning by a large margin against a focused team may not be as easy as coming back against a Swiss side.
Three things need to be done if they want to be able to defeat Sevilla at home next week.
First, they need to let go of the bad calls made by the referee instantly. If they fail to do so, they will leave more holes on the field for their opponents to easily exploit once again.
Second, taking more chances with the midfielders pushing up to join the attack can do wonders. Instead of asking the wingbacks to constantly join the attack, they need to allow them to sit back a bit to be cautious of counter-attacks, especially against a ruthless Sevilla side that can hit them where it hurts.
Third, they cannot let themselves rush because they are down 2-0 — instead, they need to focus on scoring as many goals possible without the pressure being on their backs.
When teams play for fun and enjoy what they are doing, they tend to perform at a much higher and respectable level. Therefore, they can play a good, entertaining game which will allow their fans to sing throughout the 90 minutes to push them to glory.
This will not be easy by any means. After all, this is for a place in the Europa League final, Europe’s second-most prestigious competition.