Sevilla's goalkeeper Sergio Rico (L) saves a scoring opportunity by Fiorentina's Mohamed Salah (R) during their Europa League semi-final, first leg soccer match at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville May 7, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)
Sevilla stayed firmly on course for a second consecutive Europa League crown when an Aleix Vidal double and a Kevin Gameiro strike secured a thumping 3-0 win at home to Fiorentina in their semi-final first leg on Thursday.
Chasing a record fourth triumph in Europe's second-tier club competition, Sevilla took the lead in the 17th minute at a festive Sanchez Pizjuan stadium when Vidal thrashed a low shot into the corner from a Carlos Bacca layoff.
Egypt's Mohamed Salah, who played all 90 minutes, was unlucky not to restore parity when he was found at the far post by a low cross but his close-range effort was superbly saved by Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico.
Vidal made it 2-0 to the Andalusians seven minutes into the second half when Vitolo released him into space on the right of the penalty area and he finished clinically past Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto.
Substitute Gameiro put the tie virtually beyond the Italians 15 minutes from time when he scored with his first touch just under 30 seconds after replacing Bacca following good work down the left from fullback Benoit Tremoulinos.
Fiorentina's Serie A rivals Napoli squandered the lead and drew 1-1 at home to Ukrainian side Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in their semi-final, first leg, with the return legs to be played in a week's time.
Sevilla won back-to-back UEFA Cups in 2006 and 2007 and can eclipse Inter Milan, Juventus and Liverpool, who each won the competition three times.
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