Sevilla FC's bid to become only the second team to retain the UEFA Cup survived a spirited fightback from Tottenham Hotspur FC as the Spanish side surrendered a two-goal lead on the night but held on to win 4-3 on aggregate.
Defending a 2-1 first-leg advantage, the holders looked on course to reach the last four again as they struck twice inside the first eight minutes in north London, a Steed Malbranque own goal and a well-worked second from former Tottenham forward Frédéric Kanouté seemingly ending the English club's hopes. Two goals in two minutes midway through the second half, from substitute Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon, reignited the contest, yet Sevilla resisted and Spurs' misery was complete when Teemu Tainio was sent off late on. Sevilla will play CA Osasuna in the semi-finals.
Both teams launched promising attacks within the first minute, but it was Sevilla who registered first. José Luis Martí's corner was flicked on by Christian Poulsen to the far post where Malbranque could only slice into his own net. Worse was to follow for the hosts as Kanouté, who had already prodded one effort wide, collected a Daniel Alves throw-in, cut inside and exchanged passes with Aleksandr Kerzhakov before beating Paul Robinson with a neat finish. That left Tottenham needing to score four times and Robbie Keane nearly responded immediately, rounding David Cobeño who reacted sharply to gather his attempted chip from a tight angle.
Spurs manager Martin Jol had said before the match that Sevilla's main threat came from the flanks, yet if recognising the danger was one thing, preventing it proved a different matter altogether. Daniel Alves was a particular menace down the right, and was involved in three of his side's best moves early on, though all were squandered. Jol's men were struggling although they might have reduced the arrears as half-time approached as Dimitar Berbatov was denied by the upright with Cobeño well beaten.
Tottenham emerged after half-time several minutes before their opponents and, backed by rousing home support, began the second period on the front foot. They struggled to find a way through a well-organised Sevilla defence, however, with Didier Zokora driving straight at Cobeño and Keane failing to connect properly with another shot from the edge of the area. The visitors were content to sit back and absorb the pressure while looking to pounce on the counterattack, and Jol reacted by introducing a third forward in the shape of Defoe five minutes past the hour, a switch that brought instant reward when the substitute touched in from close range moments after his arrival.
Barely 60 seconds later, Berbatov's right-wing cross broke kindly for Lennon to scramble in and suddenly Sevilla appeared nervous. Tottenham pressed hard for the third that would have set up a frantic finale yet the Andalusians swiftly regained their composure and Robinson had to tip Antonio Puerta's shot past the post. When Berbatov's low strike was saved by Cobeño, Tottenham players and fans both sensed the game was up, and so it proved, with Tainio's added-time lunge on Puerta rounding off their disappointment.