Sevilla's rock 'n roll drowns out Fiorentina
Friday, 8 May 2015
The hearty rendition of Sevilla FC's 'El Arrebato' centenary anthem set the tone for their semi-final first-leg dismissal of ACF Fiorentina, writes our reporter Tom Kell.
Article top media content
• Aleix Vidal scores twice and sets up Kevin Gameiro for a third as Sevilla win 3-0
• Mario Gomez, Matías Fernández and Mohamed Salah spurn Fiorentina chances
• Sevilla bidding to win the UEFA Europa League for record fourth time
• Exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from Naples and Seville
• The second leg is next Thursday, with the final in Warsaw on 27 May
The club song, the ticker tape, the lure of a second straight final and, potentially, a fourth UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League triumph – this was a game, an occasion, that looked destined to go only one way even before kick-off. Sevilla FC and this competition bring the best out of each other.
Sevilla's 'El Arrebato' centenary anthem is no secret weapon. Indeed it is renowned as a catapult for the team that regular visitors to the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán wax lyrical about.
Even my taxi driver from the airport on Thursday – an envious Real Betis Balompié supporter – said: "I hope you don't see them win, but you must make sure you're in your seat in time to hear the supporters." It lived up to its billing as much as Unai Emery's team did in a comprehensive 3-0 defeat of ACF Fiorentina.
Jürgen Klopp once termed his Borussia Dortmund side's style of play as "heavy metal", drawing a distinct contrast with FC Barcelona's more "orchesteral" manner. This was an evening that combined the two both on and off the field – choreographed but instinctive; disciplined yet gung-ho.
Home full-backs Benoît Trémoulinas and Aleix Vidal led the charge, clearly under orders to pin back their ears and take the fight to the Viola while simultaneously stifling the visitors of any width of their own. The latter in particular, more accustomed to playing in midfield, did not need a second invitation and struck twice on the night.
Players fed off the fans and poured forward, Vidal's 17th-minute goal giving those in the stands even more cause to open their lungs. It snowballed from there. "[The atmosphere] was incredible – the supporters were fantastic from start to finish," midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak told UEFA.com. "We are very strong at home because of our supporters and that makes it even harder for the away team." Nine straight European wins on their own turf are testament to that.
Success breeds success, so it was little surprise that not one of the Blanquirrojos faithful I spoke to prior to kick-off predicted anything other than victory. "We were calm because we knew how the fans would respond to the occasion," said Vidal after the game. "Sure enough, they did what they've been doing all season – by giving us this sensational support."
The players did their part too, responding to another white-hot atmosphere with a fitting display. Just one defeat – against UEFA Champions League semi-finalists Real Madrid CF, no less – in their last 17 fixtures in all competitions suggests Sevilla are a bandwagon that may be hard to halt.