Mircea Lucescu hopes Shakhtar will go full circle, nine years on from their dramatic defeat by Sevilla, to secure a win he says will elevate them above eastern Europe's best.
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- Sevilla looking to become the first team to lift the trophy three years running
- Unai Emery says the chance to make history is a spur not a hindrance
- Keeper Andrés Palop scored a last-gasp equaliser when the sides met in 2007
- Shakhtar will finish second to Dynamo Kyiv in the Ukrainian top flight
- The second leg takes place in Spain next Thursday; with the final in Basel on 18 May
Shakhtar: Pyatov; Srna, Kucher, Rakitskiy, Ismaily; Stepanenko, Malyshev, Marlos, Kovalenko, Taison; Ferreyra.
Out: Fred (suspended), Azevedo (knee)
Sevilla: David Soria; Coke, Carriço, Kolodziejczak, Escudero; N'Zonzi, Krychowiak; Konoplyanka, Banega, Krohn-Dehli; Gameiro.
Out: Rami (groin), Trémoulinas (hamstring), Reyes (apendicitis), Vitolo (hamstring)
Mircea Lucescu, Shakhtar coach
It is very important to maintain a high performance level. Shakhtar have reached it by lifting the UEFA Cup [in 2009] and now we are in the Europa League semi-finals. Other eastern teams like CSKA [Moskva], Zenit, Galatasaray all won the UEFA Cup but none managed a semi-final after it, none of them repeated their success. I'm very proud of my players and of the team.
We've shown some clips of the two games [against Sevilla in the 2007 UEFA Cup round of 16] to the players. We had ten seconds left! Sevilla went on to win the UEFA Cup. I think they just got lucky. Let's hope the luck they had then now passes to us; everything in life balances itself out.
Unai Emery, Sevilla coach
We're enjoying every moment, we have so much energy right now. Shakhtar's record in the last ten years is spectacular but they have lost important players along the way. We've got to the semi-finals three years in a row and are thinking only of getting through.
We're in great form at the moment. Our players' eyes are open, they are excited, and I think the team is united. We are well aware that we have an opportunity to make history.
Chornomorets Odesa 1-1 Shakhtar (Kalitvintsev 56; Bernard 10)
Shakhtar remain unbeaten in seven games but were unable to build on Bernard's sweetly struck free-kick against Chornomorets. Vladyslav Kalytvyntsev, on loan from Shakhtar's biggest rivals Dynamo Kyiv, equalised with a cross that eluded Andriy Pyatov – which allowed Dynamo to clinch the Ukrainian title on Sunday.
Sevilla 2-0 Betis (Gameiro 67, Coke 80)
Sevilla saw off derby rivals Betis for the third time this season to end a run of five Liga matches without victory. Goalkeeper Sergio Rico came to the hosts' rescue early in the second half before Kevin Gameiro headed in the opener and Coke wrapped up the points.
Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Reporter's view: Igor Linnyk
Shakhtar's focus on this tie has been made clear by Lucescu's recent rotation in the Premier-Liha. Expect the home team to stay compact and put in a disciplined display against the holders, an approach which has yielded four clean sheets in six UEFA Europa League games this term. Another shut-out here would likely give the Ukrainian side the edge, while a win without conceding would put them firmly in pole position.
Did you know?
• Of the eight clubs that parachuted into the round of 32 from the UEFA Champions League group stage, just Shakhtar and Sevilla remain. Read more in our match background.