Aleix Vidal was the star man as Sevilla defeated Fiorentina in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League semi-final.
The 25 year-old Spaniard is usually a winger, but was sent out at right back against the Serie A outfit – and it worked very well.
Vidal was comfortably the game’s most effective player, and was always an available outlet on the flank when Sevilla overloaded on his side.
The first goal came from a counterattack – a play that Unai Emery’s team perform regularly, and highly effectively.
The ball was worked from the left side of the box cleverly, and laid off to Vidal, who elected for placement rather than power, but the accuracy beat the wrong-footed I Viola goalkeeper Neto.
While Neto may have been blameless for the first goal, the second was dreadful from the Brazilian.
Vidal – again free on the right – was sent through with only Neto to beat, and the goalkeeper made it easy for him. Neto guessed that the makeshift full back would shoot to the far post, and dived early in that direction – which left Vidal free to simply shoot low into the open centre of the goal.
Now two goals down, Fiorentina could only rue the opportunities missed in the opening period of the game. Matias Fernandez missed the biggest of those with the scoreline at 1-0, somehow blazing over from just six yards out.
With increasing space in the match as the game opened up, Kevin Gameiro was brought on as a substitute – and scored with his very first touch.
Vidal, this time the architect, drilled a shot-cross into the Frenchman’s path, and he diverted it into the Fiorentina net.
That late strike – and the lack of an away goal from Fiorentina – indicates Sevilla are huge favourites to progress to the Europa League final once again.