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Europa League semi-final first leg talking points

Sevilla FC's attacking verve, FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk's efficiency, ACF Fiorentina and SSC Napoli's lack of it – UEFA.com reporters discuss five things they noticed.

Napoli's Dries Mertens challenges Dnipro keeper Denys Boyko
Napoli's Dries Mertens challenges Dnipro keeper Denys Boyko ©AFP/Getty Images

Unai Emery is no shrinking violet
Considering Joaquín and Mohamed Salah are two of ACF Fiorentina's most potent weapons, Sevilla FC coach Unai Emery could have been forgiven for asking his full-backs to focus first on shackling them, second on bolstering the hosts' attack. The selection of Aleix Vidal – customarily a midfielder – at right-back put paid to that. He was a menace all night long; two goals could have been four or five. Benoît Trémoulinas had not been detailed to rein in his instincts either; he was relentless on the left flank from first whistle to last. Tom Kell

No need for Napoli to panic
The mood in the SSC Napoli dressing room was pretty downcast after they were held 1-1 at home to FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, yet there is still cause for optimism. If it was a boxing bout they would have been overwhelming winners on points: they had 63% possession, 19 shots to Dnipro's three, 14 corners to the visitors' one. They need evolution not revolution. "We've got to relax and impose our game," defender Christian Maggio told UEFA.com. "We've got to get a result; that's all that counts." In Rafael Benítez, they have a master of the art. Ben Gladwell

Dnipro have impeccable timing
Dnipro bagged only their 12th goal of this UEFA Europa League campaign in Naples, confirming that, for all the importance of putting the ball in the net, scoring is not all that matters. Scoring at the right time is. Yevhen Seleznyov could not have picked a better moment to cancel out David López's Napoli strike and put Dnipro in the driving seat. A goalless return leg would take a team who have scored less in this tournament than 18 other sides (several of whom did not even make it beyond the group stage) to Warsaw. Efficiency at its best. Ben Gladwell

Rafael Benítez still confident
Rafael Benítez still confident

Dnipro have solid foundations
The challenge for Napoli is to find a way through. First there is Douglas, a Brazilian defender whose telescopic limbs have been a feature of Dnipro's campaign. Break through that wall and you find another: Denys Boyko. The keeper drew special praise from coach Myron Markevych after another sterling display, twice denying Gonzalo Higuaín in one-on-ones. Boyko has played every minute of Dnipro's 15 matches, qualifying included. He has conceded just 11 times.

Fiorentina need a predator
Guilty of profligacy against FC Dynamo Kyiv in the last eight, Fiorentina were again culpable in Seville. They went into the game the only one of the four semi-finalists to have registered more shots off target (74) than on (68), and it was easy to see why. First-half chances for Mario Gomez, Matías Fernández and Salah were too good to have been turned down. As is to be expected at this phase of the competition, they were made to pay. The sight of a midfielder playing in defence twice finishing with aplomb at the other end, salted the Viola's wounds. Tom Kell

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