Sevilla keep Europa League defence on track

Defending champions Sevilla, their La Liga counterparts Villarreal, and the Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk have joined Liverpool in the Europa League semi-finals.

Holders Sevilla needed penalties to keep their title defence on track as they knocked out La Liga rivals Athletic Bilbao in a thrilling encounter.

Bilbao took the lead through Aritz Aduriz (57′) early in the second half, but Kevin Gameiro (59′) responded swiftly for the hosts to restore parity before Raul Garcia (80′) levelled the tie to force extra-time after a 3-3 aggregate scoreline.

The match went to penalties and Los Rojiblancos emerged 5-4 victors, with Benat missing his spot-kick for Los Leones.

Elsewhere, Shakhtar Donetsk cruised into the last-four of the competition after they recorded a comfortable 4-0 win over Braga at Arena Lviv.

Darijo Srna opened the scoring from the spot on 25 minutes before a Ricardo Ferreira own-goal on 42 minutes doubled the hosts’ lead.

Viktor Kovalenko put the result beyond doubt five minutes into the second half and Ferreira capped off a miserable night by putting another one past his own goalkeeper on 73 minutes to make the aggregate scoreline 6-1.

Villarreal ensured there would be two Spanish teams present in the semi-finals after they beat Sparta Prague 4-2 at the Generali Arena to advance 6-3 on aggregate.

The Yellow Submarine had the game wrapped up four minutes into the second half as the opened up a four-goal lead. Cedric Bakambu broke the deadlock after just five minutes and two quick-fire goals from Samuel Castillejo (43′) and Bruno (45) before half-time put the hosts firmly in command.

Bakambu added his second of the night on 49 minutes, although Borek Dockal (65′) and Ladislav Krejci (71′) did provide some cheer for the home crowd with two consolation goals.

At Anfield, Liverpool came out on top in an epic encounter against Borussia Dortmund, emerging 4-3 victors after falling behind to two early goals.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (5′) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (9′) gave Dortmund a flying start, although Divock Origi (48′) halved the deficit early in the second half.

Marco Reus restored the visitors’ two-goal cushion on 57 minutes to seemingly dash the Reds’ hopes, but they staged a memorable comeback as Philippe Coutinho (66′), Mamadou Sakho (77′) and Dejan Lovren (90′) all scored in the final 24 minutes to book their place in the semi-finals with a 5-4 aggregate win.

Meanwhile, holders Sevilla needed penalties to keep their title defence on track as they knocked out La Liga rivals Athletic Bilbao in another thrilling encounter.

Bilbao took the lead through Aritz Aduriz (57′) early in the second half, but Kevin Gameiro (59′) responded swiftly for the hosts to restore parity before Raul Garcia (80′) levelled the tie to force extra-time after a 3-3 aggregate scoreline.

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