UEFA.com's Europa League team of the week
Friday, 8 May 2015
Sevilla FC's attack-minded right-back Aleix Vidal and FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk's defensive kingpin Douglas were among the shining stars on semi-final opening night.
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GK: Denys Boyko (FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk)
He may have been quiet during the first 45 minutes in Naples but he had plenty to do in the second half and produced four superb stops to foil the competition's top scorer Gonzalo Higuaín, including three with his legs.
DF: Aleix Vidal (Sevilla FC)
More often than not deployed in midfield, Vidal was picked at right-back, where he somehow combined shackling ACF Fiorentina's Joaquín with one lung-bursting run forward after another – not to mention scoring twice.
DF: Douglas (FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk)
The Brazilian was always likely to be busy with SSC Napoli's attacking threat but his positional awareness made life easy for his goalkeeper in the first half and a cross rarely made it beyond the near post.
DF: Raúl Albiol (SSC Napoli)
The former Real Madrid CF man ensured Nikola Kalinić had a chanceless night as Dnipro's lone frontrunner, and Albiol also stepped into midfield on occasion to demonstrate his composure on the ball.
DF: Benoît Trémoulinas (Sevilla FC)
The Frenchman and Vidal formed a lethal full-back pincer movement, pushing on to stretch Fiorentina to their limits. The 29-year-old had a hand in his side's crucial third goal, feeding Vidal who set up Kevin Gameiro.
MF: David López (SSC Napoli)
The Spanish anchorman dictated Napoli's play from the base of their midfield and even popped up with his maiden strike for the club on what was his 39th appearance for the southern Italians.
MF: Ruslan Rotan (FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk)
The central midfielder kept his discipline to stifle Napoli and his organisational skills were key to ensuring passes started coming over the top of the Dnipro defence in the second half rather than through it.
MF: Stéphane Mbia (Sevilla FC)
Sevilla's formation, at times, resembled something like a 2-4-3-1. At the heart of the bank of four was Mbia, who screened his centre-backs splendidly until being forced off injured midway through the second half.
MF: Yevhen Konoplyanka (FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk)
His team saw little of the ball and it forced the winger into showing another feature of his game, tracking Napoli's midfield runners and making a couple of crucial interceptions on the edge of his own area.
FW: Mohamed Salah (ACF Fiorentina)
The Viola were chasing shadows for much of the game, yet the Egyptian's ability to get into dangerous positions at least offered some hope that Vincenzo Montella's men might rally in the return leg.
FW: Carlos Bacca (Sevilla FC)
The Colombian has figured in all of Sevilla's matches since the beginning of the group stage and always looks a danger. He had a couple of sniffs of goal before laying on Vidal's first of the contest.