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Europa League Draw: Sevilla worthy opposition to favs Napoli

| 24.04.2015

Owing to their decimation of pre-quarter-final Europa League favourites Wolfsburg, Rafa Benitez’s Napoli have assumed the shortest price to win the tournament and book that coveted backdoor route into the continent’s premier competition, the Champions League.

This favouritism has since been solidified with the Serie A side pulling outsiders Dnipro (8/1) out of the hat, with the first-leg of their final-four tie taking place at their San Paolo stronghold.

The Ciucciarelli’s 11/8 (shortened from 13/8) for success is certainly appetising, but the 11/5 about second-fancies Sevilla is smothered in value.

Unai Emery’s troops have marginally drifted from 2/1 after being pitted against Fiorentina who, incidentally, are 10/3 to claim the Europa League spoils.

The trickiness of this tie can’t be disputed, but Sevilla’s pedigree in the competition and their despatching of elite outfits this term makes them the real force to be feared.

Few would’ve fancied them to even make last season’s final, let alone lift the trophy against a stronger Benfica side.

But a gritty performance in the Turin showpiece allowed them to claim a penalty shootout victory.

It also enabled the La Liga side’s name to be etched onto the trophy for the third time in the previous nine years, having first claimed the title in 2005/06.

They then retained the crown the following season to become the only team this century to successfully defend the Europa League.

In booking their semi-final spot this time around they barged a formidable Zenit St Petersburg side out of contention.

Schooled by Andre Villas-Boas, a former winner of this competition, the Russian Premier League trailblazers had seen off Dutch champions PSV with ease in the last-32, while a flawless first-leg showing in the following round was good enough to oust Torino.

Unlike those who came before them, Sevilla were able to withstand Zenit’s overtures at the Petrovsky in a 2-2 second-leg draw to claim a 4-3 aggregate win, though they weren’t the only heavy hitters despatched by the Andalusians.

Bundesliga high-flyers Borussia Monchengladbach were beaten home and away, as were compatriots Villarreal.

Such form, coupled with past experience, is a cup-winning recipe that means Sevilla can’t be ignored at 11/5 to bag yet another Europa League this season.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Middleton