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Shoot-out agony for Athletic as Sevilla dream on

Sevilla 1-2 Athletic (agg: 3-3, Sevilla win 5-4 on pens)
Holders Sevilla are through to the semi-finals, after seeing off Liga rivals Athletic in an an epic encounter.

Highlights: Sevilla's dramatic penalty shootout victory
Highlights: Sevilla's dramatic penalty shootout victory
  • David Soria denies Beñat Etxebarria from spot before Kevin Gameiro clinches it
  • Aritz Aduriz opens scoring but Gameiro and Raúl García force extra time
  • Sevilla fail to win for only second time in last 15 UEFA club competition home games
  • Sevilla seeking to become first team to win competition three seasons running
  • Semi-final draw streamed live from Nyon at 12.30CET on Friday 15 April

In a UEFA Europa League quarter-final tie that never failed to enthral, holders Sevilla finally saw off Liga rivals Athletic after a penalty shoot-out, Kevin Gameiro firing the deciding spot kick in off the bar.

After an encounter which burst into life after half-time and swung violently both ways, Aritz Aduriz and Kevin Gameiro exchanging goals before Raúl García's late header forced extra time. Penalties were the only way to settle an absorbing tie between evenly-matched opponents.

A miss from Athletic's ex-Betis man Beñat Etxebarria, lapped up by the Sevilla fans, paved the way for Gameiro – as he did in the Turin final in 2014 – to fire in the winning spot kick.

Raúl García heads in
Raúl García heads in©Getty Images

Such drama seemed a distant reality at half-time, but from the moment Vicente Iborra tested Iago Herrerín three minutes after the restart, the game burst to life. Herrerín's opposite number David Soria fared less well on 57 minutes, allowing an effort from Aduriz to squirm past him and into the net, the Basque forward's tenth of the competition.

Fortunately for the young keeper, his team-mates came immediately to his aid, a devastating Sevilla break ending with Grzegorz Krychowiak's low centre rammed home by Gameiro. The visitors' morale was hit further by the loss through injury of Aduriz, and Sevilla could have extended their 3-2 aggregate lead via Gameiro (twice) and sub Yevhen Konoplyanka.

Kevin Gameiro celebrates
Kevin Gameiro celebrates©Getty Images

They did not, and Raúl García popped up on 80 minutes to head in Etxebarria's cross to take the game to extra time. The holders rallied impressively, forcing Ander Iturraspe to flick a free-kick onto his own post and seeing an overhead kick from Coke blocked on the line by Mikel San José.

With nothing to separate the Liga rivals, penalties were required and Soria made up for his earlier wobble to allow Gameiro to do the honours once more.

Raúl García
Raúl García©Getty Images

Raúl García back in style
Absent from the first leg through suspension, the ex-Atlético Madrid stalwart unsettled the Sevilla back line with his physical presence, headed the goal that took the tie to extra time and netted his spot kick in the shoot-out.

'Kolo' proving his worth 
Scorer of the vital leveller that sunk Athletic Club's spirits in the first leg, Timothée Kolodziejczak was in heroic mood once more – denying Aduriz an early opener with a last-gasp clearance.

Sevilla still on course for record 
Having squeezed through to the last four, the holders remain on course for a feat never before achieved in this competition – three titles in a row – though they were pushed every inch of the way by Ernesto Valverde's valiant charges.

©Getty Images
©Getty Images
©Getty Images
©Getty Images