Sevilla, Fiorentina, Dnipro, Napoli make Europa semis
Substitute Kevin Gameiro scored late to give titleholder Sevilla a 2-2 draw at Zenit St. Petersburg for a place in the Europa League semifinals on Thursday.
Napoli advanced by easing past Wolfsburg 6-3 on aggregate after a 2-2 draw at home; Fiorentina beat 10-man Dynamo Kiev 2-0 to advance; and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk ended Brugge’s 15-match unbeaten run with a 1-0 win that was enough for the Ukrainian team to make its first semifinal in the competition.
Brugge was the only unbeaten side left in the competition, with 11 wins and four draws since entering the competition in the third qualifying round. The Belgian team set a competition record by going 11 games unbeaten from the start of the group stage.
But substitute Yevhen Shakhov cut inside and scored with a deflected shot in the 82nd minute to end Brugge’s hopes following a 0-0 draw in Belgium. The draw for the semifinals is on Friday. In St. Petersburg, Carlos Bacca converted a sixth-minute penalty for Sevilla, after Luis Neto brought down Vitolo.
Danny hit Sevilla’s post before the Russian side equalized in the 48th. Goalkeeper Beto fumbled a cross from Oleg Shatov, and Jose Rondon tapped the ball home from close range.
Zenit stepped up the pressure and dominated until Hulk fired a spectacular 40-meter(-yard) shot as Beto stood off the line, with the ball hitting the underside of the crossbar and bouncing over the line. That leveled the tie 3-3 on aggregate.
Zenit looked closer to overall victory but, in the 85th, Vitolo used a quick counterattack to pass to Gameiro, who slotted into the far corner from just inside the penalty area.
In Florence, Mario Gomez scored in the first half and substitute Juan Manuel Vargas sealed Fiorentina’s win deep into stoppage time. The Italian team progressed 3-1 on aggregate as Kiev’s Jeremain Lens was sent off in the 40th for a second yellow card for diving. Gomez knocked in the first goal three minutes later.
Napoli, already holding a 4-1 lead from the away leg in Wolfsburg, went up 2-0 before the German side struck back with two goals in quick succession to level.
Jose Callejon opened the scoring soon after halftime when he fired from just outside the area, The shot took a deflection off Ricardo Rodriguez and left goalkeeper Diego Benaglio helpless.
Gonzalo Higuain set up the second in the 65th, and Dries Mertens used his pass to shoot on the target. Benaglio parried with his leg, but Mertens followed through to put it in the back of the net from close range.
Wolfsburg pulled level on headers from Timm Klose in the 71st and Ivan Perisic in the 73rd.
Dynamo Kiev’s Younes Belhanda controls the ball during a Europa League quarterfinal, second leg soccer match between Fiorentina and Dynamo Kyiv at the Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence, Italy on Thursday, April 23.