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Europa League, semi-finals, first leg

Sevilla 2 - Valencia 0

Sevilla are close to a place in the Europa League final after beating Valencia 2-0 in the first leg of their semi-final. The game got off to a pacy start, Bacca getting closed down as he advanced on goal in the first minute, and Javi Fuego seeing his header saved in the second. M’Bia put the Andalusians ahead though with just over half an hour gone with a back-heel shot past Guaita after Carriço headed on a Rakitic free kick, the referee turning down clear appeals for offside. And just three minutes later Bacca made it two after running on to Vitolo’s return pass to fire an angled shot past the keeper. Guaita had to be at his best to keep out two Fazio headers either side of half time, and then another effort from Bacca a few minutes later. But Mathieu curled a free kick just over the top, and in the dying minutes Beto saved point blank from Piatti, and Vargas headed against the bar. An important win for Sevilla though, and the clean sheet gives them a big advantage going in to next Thursday’s return leg in the Mestalla stadium. (24.04.14)