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Real Betis not yet home and dry in derby clash with Sevilla

| 19.03.2014

There may be a shock or two coming up in Thursday night’s Europa League second leg ties, but it is difficult to see Spurs providing one of them after being thoroughly outplayed by Benfica at White Hart Lane last week. Tim Sherwood’s dispirited side now need to score at least three goals in Portugal and it just doesn’t look on.

Valencia and Lyon also look nailed on to join Benfica in Friday’s quarter-final draw, but the other five ties are by no means settled yet, not even the Seville city derby after Real Betis’s shock 2-0 win at Sevilla.

Betis, detached in last place in La Liga, rode their luck against their much higher ranked rivals and Unai Emery’s team, winners of the competition in 2006 and 2007, were left wondering how they managed to lose a game they dominated for such long periods.

Turning around a two-goal deficit away from home is a big ask, but Coral’s 6/5 that they at least win on the night makes plenty of appeal.

Juventus, runaway leaders of Serie A, seemed destined to win the Europa League this year with the final being staged in their own stadium, but a 1-1 home draw with Italian rivals Fiorentina last week has certainly made life more difficult.

Fiorentina, 27 points behind ‘The Old Lady’ in fourth place, will now fancy their chances of knocking out Coral’s 11/4 tournament favourites, but I fancy Juventus (21/20) to edge a victory and scrape through.

Napoli v Porto could go either way after the a 1-0 first leg home win for the Portuguese. The two teams, third in their respective leagues, are also joined at the hip at 10/1 to win the competition outright. This one’s just too close to call.

You would have thought that Dick Advocaat’s AZ Alkmaar would have made short work of Anzhi, detached at the bottom of the Russian Premier League, in their home leg last week, but they needed a penalty to take a slender advantage to Dagestan.

A draw (9/4) will be enough for the Dutch side, but life will definitely get tougher for them if they reach the last eight.

Basel and Red Bull Salzburg played out a 0-0 draw in Switzerland last Thursday, but both teams scored five at the weekend, so we might now be in for something a little more entertaining.

Salzburg, runaway leaders of the Austrian League, are 2/5 to win the game and get through to the quarter-finals and this is a team who do have the quality to go further still in the tournament – Coral rate them 7/1 shots to win it outright.






Jon Freeman