Zenit St P 2 - 2 Sevilla: Sevilla cruise into semi

Zenit's Javi Garcia (L)  fights for the ball with Sevilla's Vicente Iborra. Picture: AP

Zenit's Javi Garcia (L) fights for the ball with Sevilla's Vicente Iborra. Picture: AP

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SEVILLA progressed to the semi-finals of the Europa League after Kevin Gameiro’s goal five minutes from time settled a thrilling tie with Zenit St Petersburg.

Ahead 2-1 after the first leg, the two sides played out a 2-2 draw at the Petrovsky Stadium as the holders kept alive their hopes of retaining the trophy.

They looked set for victory when Carlos Bacca smashed home his 22nd goal of the season from the penalty spot after six minutes.

However Jose Rondon pulled Zenit level on the night and the match looked set for extra-time after Hulk’s wonderful long range effort.

However with just four minutes remaining Gameiro popped up with his 15th of the campaign to see Unai Emery’s side through.

Zenit, the league leaders in Russia, were behind after just six minutes. Luis Neto brought down Machin Vitolo in the area and Bacca drove the spot-kick high into the top corner.

The home side needed a response and after 17 minutes they broke at pace and Antonio Beto had to be at his best to tip Danny’s effort past the post.

Danny was one of four returning to the Zenit side from suspension and another, Hulk, gave his side the opportunity to level after 25 minutes.

The Brazilian international’s pinpoint corner found the head of Nicolas Lombaerts - but his header went over the bar.

The chance seemed to kick Sevilla into life once again as Stephane Mbia headed a good chance over before Ever Banega shot wide.

And Sevilla could have doubled their lead moments before the break but after rounding home goalkeeper Yuri Lodygin, Bacca’s effort was cleared off the line.

Andre Villas-Boas’ side gave themselves a chance minutes into the second half when Rondon bundled in from close range following Oleg Shatov’s cross.

Hulk shot wide as Zenit upped the tempo, before the Brazilian gave his side the lead on the night after 72 minutes with a sensational 30-yard effort which flew over Beto and into the net to bring his side level on aggregate.

And Sevilla were thankful to a familiar face to keep them in the game 13 minutes from time.

Daniel Carrico, who on Thursday became the leading Europa League appearance maker with 45, put in a terrific block to deny Rondon, who from six yards looked sure to bag his second goal of the match.

The importance of that block by Carrico was magnified in the 85th minute when Gameiro levelled on the night for Sevilla from inside the area into the far corner.

The goal meant Zenit had to score twice in the closing stages but in truth it was Sevilla who looked more likely to score with Banega forcing another good save from Lodygin.

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