UEFA : Europa League semi-final draw
The draw for the UEFA Europa League semi-finals have been made in Nyon, with Shakhtar Donetsk, Sevilla, Villarreal and Liverpool all discovering their route to potential glory.
Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) v Sevilla (ESP, holders)
The teams met in a sensational round of 16 tie in 2006/07. Enzo Maresca’s late goal earned Sevilla a 2-2 first-leg draw at home but the holders were again trailing 2-1 in the return when goalkeeper Andrés Palop headed in a 94th-minute equaliser. Ernesto Chevantón completed the comeback in extra time and Juande Ramos’s side went on to lift the trophy.
Mircea Lucescu was Shakhtar’s coach then and now, and Olexandr Kucher, Vyacheslav Shevchuk and Darijo Srna remain in the Shakhtar squad (Srna missed the second leg). There are no survivors from that tie still with Sevilla.
Sevilla have won their last four games against Ukrainian teams, most recently in last season’s final when they beat Dnipro 3-2 in Warsaw. The Spanish team have also had success in Lviv (albeit not at the Arena Lviv), Shakhtar’s European home, beating Karpaty Lviv 1-0 in the 2010 group stage.
Villarreal (ESP) v Liverpool (ENG)
The sides have never met in UEFA competition, but both have experience against opponents from the other country in major European semi-finals.
Jens Lehmann’s last-gasp penalty save from Juan Riquelme in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League took Arsenal into the final at the expense of Manuel Pellegrini’s Spanish side. Had he scored it would have gone to extra time.
Liverpool have had three previous semi-finals against Spanish sides in the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League, most recently an away-goals defeat by Atlético Madrid in 2010. They twice beat Barcelona by the odd goal, in 2001 and 1976 – and went on to lift the trophy both times.
Although not in Liverpool’s UEFA Europa League squad, José Enrique remains on the English side’s books and spent 2006/07 at the Madrigal.
The winner of the Villarreal v Liverpool tie will be the nominal home team for the final after an additional draw on Friday. The decider takes place at St. Jakob-Park, Basel on Wednesday 18 May, kicking off at 20.45CET
Villarreal v Shakhtar
The teams have never met, but Villarreal have encountered Shakhtar’s great domestic rivals Dynamo Kyiv, beating them 2-0 on aggregate in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup round of 32.
Shakhtar have won just four of their 21 previous meetings with Spanish opposition, most notably their 3-2 victory against Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League group stage. They have lost 12, drawn five.
Villarreal v Sevilla
Vitolo struck after 13.21 seconds, the fastest goal in UEFA Europa League history, when these sides met in last season’s round of 16, Sevilla winning 3-1 away and 2-1 at home.
The teams have met 38 times in all competitions – Villarreal, remember, did not grace the top flight until 1998. Sevilla have won 21, Villarreal nine with eight draws.
They have had a home win apiece in the Liga this season, most recently a thriller in Andalusia that Sevilla edged 4-2. With six games to go Villarreal are 12 points and three places ahead of them in the table, though.
Villarreal boss Marcelino had an eight-month spell in charge of Sevilla in 2011/12 but was sacked after a run of seven games without a win left the club seventh. The last nail in the coffin? A 2-1 defeat at home to Villarreal.
Liverpool v Shakhtar
Liverpool and Shakhtar are the last unbeaten sides in the competition. Lucescu’s side have five victories and one draw since transferring from the UEFA Champions League, while Liverpool have won and drawn six apiece.
Liverpool lifted the UEFA Cup three times, most recently in 2001 when they beat Deportivo Alavés 5-4 in the final. Shakhtar lifted the cup in 2009, the last season before the competition was rebranded as the UEFA Europa League.
Jürgen Klopp was in charge of the Dortmund side that beat Lucescu’s Shakhtar 5-2 on aggregate in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 three years ago. He also has happy memories of Lviv. His Dortmund side were 3-2 down after 87 minutes against Karpaty in a 2010 UEFA Europa League group stage tie, but struck twice to claim a stunning win
Liverpool v Sevilla
Between them the sides have lifted the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League seven times but they have never met in UEFA competition. The Reds are aiming to match Sevilla’s competition record of four wins.
Liverpool’s last UEFA Cup win in 2001 came against Spanish opponents, a remarkable 5-4 extra-time win against Deportivo Alavés in Dortmund. Sevilla had never won the competition back then, and were plying their trade in Spain’s second tier.
Spain full-back Alberto Moreno came through the ranks at home-town club Sevilla, making 62 first-team appearances before joining Liverpool in 2014.