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UEFA Europa League: first-leg talking points

UEFA.com's matchnight reporters reflect on Thursday's action with undiluted positives for Sevilla FC and FC Zenit but worrying wins for VfL Wolfsburg and Everton FC.

Stéphane Mbia looks satisfied after scoring Sevilla's second
Stéphane Mbia looks satisfied after scoring Sevilla's second ©AFP/Getty Images

Do not underestimate the UEFA Champions League bonus
Fifth in Spain, Unai Emery's Sevilla FC showed with a powerful performance at Villarreal CF that they understand the magnitude of UEFA's decision to award a UEFA Champions League place to this season's UEFA Europa League winners. No side can afford to take their eye off the ball in domestic competitions, but as they edge closer to the final in Warsaw, sensible coaches – and club presidents – will be reminding their players that there is much more than silverware at stake. Delfín Ramírez

Villarreal 1-3 Sevilla
Why Sevilla beat Villarreal

Danny is Zenit's champion of the world
Danny did not score or provide any assists, but the attacking figure was still the guiding force in FC Zenit's 2-0 home win against Torino FC. At the heart of every Zenit move, the 31-year-old directed the flow of the game. The master of the pass before the assist, the Portuguese international was perfectly happy to see other team-mates steal the limelight. "I don't care – I am here to help my team win," he said. Typically selfless. Eugene Ravdin

Zenit 2-0 Torino
Zenit reflect on win

Wolfsburg celebrate a Kevin De Bruyne goal
Wolfsburg celebrate a Kevin De Bruyne goal©Getty Images

A two-goal win may have flattered Wolfsburg
"The result is dangerous," noted Kevin De Bruyne, experiencing no euphoria despite netting twice in VfL Wolfsburg's 3-1 victory over FC Internazionale Milano. The scoreline perhaps flattered Dieter Hecking's side, who withdrew star winter signing André Schürrle at the break. De Bruyne made a decisive contribution – "I told him at half-time to stay calm," Hecking said – but missed a chance to complete a hat-trick at the death. In a game they were a little fortunate to win, he will hope that Wolfsburg's luck does not get balanced out in Milan. Matthias Rötters

Rudi Garcia: happy with a draw
Rudi Garcia: happy with a draw©Getty Images

Wolfsburg 3-1 Inter
De Bruyne still wary

Roma's luck of the draw

Rudi Garcia's AS Roma have lost ground on Serie A leaders Juventus due to eight draws in ten Serie A matches, but Seydou Keita's leveller at ACF Fiorentina was something worth celebrating. "It's an important goal in terms of going through," said the French coach, happy for once to be talking about a game his team did not win. "We could have won, but this is still fine." A 0-0 in Rome next Thursday would give his side another draw to savour – the quarter-final one in Nyon. Ben Gladwell

Fiorentina 1-1 Roma
Montella: We deserved more

Steven Naismith celebrates his goal
Steven Naismith celebrates his goal©AFP/Getty Images

Everton looked fragile for the first time
Everton FC's domestic malaise this season appeared to be affecting them in Europe for the first time as some sloppy defending contributed to Oleh Gusev's 14th-minute opening goal for FC Dynamo Kyiv, and they looked ponderous in possession. Steven Naismith's equaliser six minutes before the interval, however, was their salvation. "It settled everyone down including the crowd," Gareth Barry told UEFA.com. "We grew in confidence and we're slightly disappointed to only score two." Simon Hart

Everton 2-1 Dynamo Kyiv
Everton rally pleases Barry

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