Sevilla vs Fiorentina
Sevilla are expected to reach the final of the Europa LeagueReuters

Defending Europa League champions take on Fiorentina in the first leg semi-final of the competition at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium on Thursday.

Sevilla have a very good chance to defend their crown this season as they have been playing well in the Europa League this season, topping their pool in the group stages and beating the likes of Borussia Mönchengladbach, Villarreal and Zenit Saint Petersburg in the earlier stages to book their spot in the last four of the competition.

Now Serie A side Fiorentina are the only thing between Sevilla and their second successive Europa League final.

Although the La Liga side are expected to beat the Viola in the first leg at home, manager Unai Emery insists that they will not be taking Fiorentina for granted on Thursday.

"We have to pay attention to Mario Gomez, Mohamed Salah, Borja Valero and Marcos Alonso when he gets forward," Emery told UEFA's official website.

The 43-year-old Spaniard feels that Viola will be a very formidable opponent due to them eliminating some tough teams on their way to the semi-finals of the Europa League.

"Fiorentina have eliminated three great teams – Tottenham, Roma and Dynamo Kyiv. Fiorentina are coming to the end of a very good season – we are two similar teams, looking at the trophies both clubs have won, so it is an even tie."

"The most important thing is the here and now, and right now we are two equal sides that want to win this competition. It is a 180-minute tie and we should be ready for it to last even longer."

Fiorentina will certainly be fancying their chances of reaching the final of the Europa League as they too have done well in the competition so far.

After topping their pool in the group stages, the Viola beat Tottenham Hotspur in the round of 32, before securing wins over Roma and Dynamo Kyiv in the round of 16 and the quarter-final to book their place in the final four of the competition.

Now they face a tough game against Sevilla and manager Vincenzo Montella admits that the Liga Liga side are up against a "complete team" who have been doing well in Europe in the past couple of seasons.

"I don't think there is a correct way of playing this game as Sevilla are a complete team. They know how to defend, attack and counterattack," Montella told UEFA's official website.

"They have done very well in Europe in recent seasons so it will be a good match for both teams and their supporters. There will be a good atmosphere which I hope will provide my players with added motivation."

Despite admitting the first leg at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium will be important, he does not feel that the tie will be decided there.

"The first leg is very important, but not decisive as long as there is not a big difference in goals scored. It is an incentive for us if people are considering Sevilla favourites."

Expected Line-ups:

Sevilla: Rico; Coke, Carriço, Kolodziejczak, Trémoulinas; Banega, Krychowiak; Aleix Vidal, Iborra, Vitolo; Bacca.
Fiorentina: Neto; Tomović, Savić, Gonzalo Rodríguez, Alonso; Borja Valero, Pizarro, Fernández; Joaquín, Salah, Gomez.

Where to Watch Live

The game is scheduled for a 9:05pm local time (12:35am IST, 8:05pm BST, 3:05pm ET) start, with live coverage on Ten Action and Ten HD in India. The match can also be watched via live streaming online on Ten Sports Live.

Viewers in the UK can catch the match live on ITV 4, with a option to live stream on ITV Player. US audience can watch the game live on Fox Sports 1 or online on Fox Soccer 2Go. Viewers in Canada can watch via live stream on Sportsnet World.

Viewers in Spain can watch the match live on Gol 2 Internacional and Movistar TV Fútbol, while Italian audience can do the same on Rete 4 and Premium Calcio HD

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