Sevilla, Shakhtar Reach Europa League Semi-Finals

The wolves wall jumps for a free kick during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match Wolverhampton Wanderers v Sevilla at the MSV Arena on August 11, 2020 in Duisburg, western Germany. Ina Fassbender / POOL / AFP
The wolves wall jumps for a free kick during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match Wolverhampton Wanderers v Sevilla at the MSV Arena on August 11, 2020 in Duisburg, western Germany. Ina Fassbender / POOL / AFP

 

Sevilla and Shakhtar Donetsk qualified for the semi-finals of the Europa League on Tuesday after respective wins over Wolverhampton Wanderers and Basel.

Five-time competition winners Sevilla face Manchester United on Sunday after snatching a last gasp 1-0 win over Wolves, while Shakhtar take on Inter Milan on Monday after easily seeing off Basel 4-1.

The La Liga side made it through to their last four clash with United thanks to Lucas Ocampos’ brilliant headed winner with less than two minutes left on the clock, which ended Wolves’ dreams of European glory.

Shakhtar Donetsk's Portuguese coach Luis Castro (L) congratulates his players during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match Shakhtar Donetsk v FC Basel at the Arena Aufschalke on August 11, 2020 in Gelsenkirchen, western Germany. WOLFGANG RATTAY / POOL / AFP
Shakhtar Donetsk’s Portuguese coach Luis Castro (L) congratulates his players during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match Shakhtar Donetsk v FC Basel at the Arena Aufschalke on August 11, 2020 in Gelsenkirchen, western Germany. WOLFGANG RATTAY / POOL / AFP

 

The Premier League outfit thought they were set to make the perfect start in the 11th minute when Adam Traore set off on a sensational surge towards goal from his own half and was chopped down in the area by Diego Carlos.

However Raul Jimenez, who had scored all of his previous eight penalties for Wolves, sent a weak spot-kick towards Yassine Bounou, who could hardly believe his luck as he batted the Mexican’s tame shot aside.

That was to be Wolves’ last shot on target of the match as chances became hard to come by, although Sevilla began to take a stranglehold on the play and force Wolves back into their own half.

Wolves, who were missing wing-back Jonny after the Spaniard damaged his cruciate knee ligament in the 1-0 win over Olympiakos that booked them a place in the last eight, struggled to get hold of the ball and keep it when they did.

However Sevilla couldn’t carve out many clear-cut opportunities, with Wolves’ defence managing to snuff out their opponents when they did manage to break free.

Ocampos snatches victory

The first good chance of the second half came when Jules Kounde met Suso’s beautifully flighted cross in the 66th minute, but the Frenchman had to stretch for the ball and sent it looping over the bar.

Eleven minutes later Rui Patrico did well to tip over Ever Banega’s dipping free-kick as Wolves began to rock, but the goalkeeper could do nothing to stop Sevilla’s winner with two minutes left.

Banega was again at the heart of the action, whipping in a fizzing cross that Lucas Ocampos did brilliantly to guide into the bottom corner and send his team into the semis.

In Gelsenkirchen Shakhtar booked their spot in the last four with a commanding win over Basel that will give Inter Milan something to think about ahead of their semi-final clash on Monday.

Sevilla's Argentinian midfielder Lucas Ocampos celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match Wolverhampton Wanderers v Sevilla at the MSV Arena on August 11, 2020 in Duisburg, western Germany. Friedemann Vogel / POOL / AFP
Sevilla’s Argentinian midfielder Lucas Ocampos celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match Wolverhampton Wanderers v Sevilla at the MSV Arena on August 11, 2020 in Duisburg, western Germany. Friedemann Vogel / POOL / AFP

 

The Ukrainian side got off to a flyer thanks to Junior Moraes, who headed home Marlos’ corner with less than two minutes on the clock, and they never looked back from that point on.

Taison put Shakhtar two ahead 20 minutes later when his deflected shot flashed past Basel’s bamboozled goalkeeper Dorde Nikolic.

The match was over as a contest when Taison was brought down in the box, allowing Alan Patrick to make it three from the spot with 14 minutes left.

Shakhtar rounded off a fine display in the 88th minute when right-back Dodo combined with Tete before smashing home a superb finish.

Ricky van Wolfswinkel’s close-range strike for Basel a minute into stoppage time made no difference to a thumping defeat for the Swiss.

 

AFP

Darijo Srna Suspends His Career After Failed Dope Test

 

Darijo Srna                                    Photo: Football.ua

Shakhtar Donetsk’s Croatian midfielder Darijo Srna suspended his career on Friday after his Ukrainian club announced he had failed an out-of-competition drugs test.

“Shakhtar Donetsk is aware that an out-of-competition test on Darijo Srna was positive on March 22, 2017,” said Shakhtar in a statement.

“The player is not banned from the sport. However, after consulting the club, Darijo Srna has taken the decision to no longer play until the case is resolved and so that he can concentrate on his defence.

“The club respects Darijo’s decision and is convinced that he will restore his reputation.”

Srna, the club captain and who made 134 international appearances for Croatia, will miss Tuesday’s Champions League trip to Manchester City after playing in the 2-1 win over Napoli in the opening fixture of the tournament.

“I would like to make it clear that I have never knowingly or intentionally taken any prohibited substance, nor unfairly intended to gain a competitive advantage,” the 35-year-old said in a statement.

“In order to focus on my defence and avoid any undue distractions for the team, I have made the decision to refrain myself from playing until the ongoing legal proceedings have been resolved.

“I will now be focused entirely on clearing my name and reputation. This is not the end of my career, I can promise you that!”

AFP

Europa League: Liverpool Will Take This Opportunity – Jurgen Klopp

LiverpoolLiverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, has promised that Liverpool will give everything to lift the Europa League trophy.

This came after the Reds booked a place in the final with a 3-0 victory over Villarreal at Anfield.

A Bruno Soriano own goal in the seventh minute was followed by Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana strikes in the second half, which overturned a deficit from the first leg in Spain.

The Reds therefore progress to a meeting with Sevilla in Basel on May 18 – and deservedly so according to Klopp, who was delighted with his team’s display.

During his post-match press conference, Kloop was full of praises for his players admitting excitedly that their performance surpassed his expectations on the night.

“The problem is I’m not a native speaker so I don’t have the right words for this performance. It was nice to watch and nice to be part of it; the whole performance, not from the first, second (but) from 6.45pm when we drove through the road again. It’s nice.

“The first half-hour… what power! The will was obvious, I would say. Then for 15 minutes we lost a little bit of patience, that’s normal. We tried (to be) a little bit different and it made not too much sense. In the second half, (it was) back to the plan – still very emotional plus very smart, wonderful goals, well deserved.”

Kloop also had good words for striker Daniel Sturridge, who he admitted had a great game but mainly because he had a great team to play with, maintaining that the entire team was outstanding.

The 2016 Europa League final is Liverpool’s first European final since 2007 and Kloop considers this a great feat considering how the season has been for the club and particularly how difficult the Europa League started for them.

“When I came here, the tournament didn’t sound too nice for the people – three draws or something like that. It was a difficult group I thought and we came through with a nice game in Russia. That was good. We felt really comfortable in this tournament…

“I think, especially in 2016, the team has showed a lot of times what they are capable of and what they could be capable of in the future. That’s a really good sign. That’s more important for me as a manager.

“But then when you perform in the right moments like we did tonight, or against Dortmund or against United or Augsburg then you want to have more. That’s what we try now.

“Europe is big and a lot of teams want to go to finals, it’s not too easy. Now we are there. It’s a great opportunity and we will take it as an opportunity,” he said.

He admitted, however, that while outstanding performances are required, the club would also need some luck to win the title.

Klopp Extols Liverpool’s Europa League Performance

Liverpool-Jurgen-Klopp-Europa-League-DortmundLiverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, is full of praise for his team after they staged an amazing performance to beat Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League.

Kloop described the victory as everything a coach would desire from his team on a big match day.

Dortmund coach, Thomas Tuchel admitted that Liverpool took a lot of risks that worked for them.

Liverpool had done the unthinkable fight back at the Anfield Stadium from being 1-3 down to defeat Dortmund 4-3 and also qualified for the semi-final, 5-4 on aggregate.

Villarreal will subsequently host Liverpool in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final on April 28 while the return leg would be played in England on May 5.

On the flip side, Sevilla will travel to Ukraine for the first leg against Shakhtar Donestk while the return leg would be played in Spain.

The Europa League final would take place in Basel, Switzerland on Wednesday, May 18.