Šuker sets stage for Seville spectacle

Former Sevilla FC striker Davor Šuker expects an evening to remember when his old club take on city rivals Real Betis Balompié in the UEFA Europa League round of 16.

Davor Šuker is in Seville to watch his old club
Davor Šuker is in Seville to watch his old club ©AFP

Davor Šuker is anticipating "a tremendous match" as the Seville derby transfers to the continental stage in the UEFA Europa League round of 16.

The former Croatia striker, who is now president of the Croatian Football Federation (HNS), was at Sevilla FC between 1991 and 1996, scoring 76 goals in 153 appearances, and is hopeful his former team can hold off Real Betis Balompié at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán in Thursday's first leg. "It's a big thing for the city and the fans in Seville to have their local derby in the Europa League," Šuker told UEFA.com. "I played here for five years and, knowing the local mentality, it will be a tempestuous match and the better team will win – and as I played there, I hope that's Sevilla."

Šuker's old club lifted the UEFA Cup in consecutive seasons in 2006 and 2007 and the 46-year-old – a runner-up in the competition with Arsenal FC in 2000 – knows how significant the tie will be. "Spanish teams are successful in the Europa League; they're very experienced and really want to do well," he added. "Playing in the Europa League is something special for all the players and they will prove that tonight. Betis will definitely have their chances and certainly cause some problems for Sevilla. I am sure it will be a tremendous match."