Sevilla down Wolves, Shakhtar thump Basel to reach Europa League semis
PARIS, August 12: Sevilla qualified for the semifinals of the Europa League on Tuesday after Lucas Ocampos’ late header broke Wolverhampton Wanderers’ hearts, while Shakhtar Donetsk thumped Basel 4-1 to join the Spaniards in the last four.
Five-time competition winners Sevilla face Manchester United in Cologne on Sunday thanks to a brilliant header from Argentine Ocampos with less than two minutes left on the clock which gave them a deserved 1-0 win, while Shakhtar take on Inter Milan on Monday in another intriguing tie.
Sevilla dominated their English opponents over the course of the match, as a tired-looking Wolves’ dreams of European glory ended with a whimper.
“I am very proud of my players. We needed to have lots of patience against a very good team,” said Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui, whose team are now unbeaten in 19 matches in all competitions, to BT Sport.
“We have ambition we work very hard… but we are going to play against Manchester United… the biggest team in world football.”
Premier League outfit Wolves 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.
There were claims that Bounou had left his line while Sevilla players seemed to enter the area before the penalty was taken, but in any case that was to be Wolves’ last shot on target of the match as chances became hard to come by.
Sevilla though began to take a stranglehold on the play and force Wolves back into their own half.
However they struggled to carve out many clear-cut opportunities, with Wolves’ defence managing to snuff out their opponents when they did manage to break free.
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 freekick 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.
“I’m feeling amazing because we have worked hard and we trust we can reach the final,” said goalscorer Junior Moraes.
“If you want to test yourself, you have to play against teams at this high level.”
The Ukrainian side got off to a flyer thanks to Brazil-born 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.
Alan Patrick put the result beyond doubt from the penalty spot with 14 minutes left after Taison’s burst into the box was ended by a clumsy challenge from Basel defender Yannick Marchand.
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)