Europa League: Sevilla meet arch rivals Real Betis in last 16 clash
Last Updated: 13/03/14 10:34pm
Jose Antonio Reyes: Hoping for another big win for Sevilla
Sevilla forward Jose Antonio Reyes is hoping good things come in threes when his side host arch rivals Real Betis in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 derby showdown.
In the last two Primera Division encounters between the clubs at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Sevilla have run out winners by 5-1 and 4-0, and a similar result on Thursday night would leave Unai Emery's men with one foot in the quarter-finals.
Both of those comprehensive victories came on the back of flying starts, with goals from Reyes and Federico Fazio putting Sevilla 2-0 up after five minutes in the 2012/13 season clash and Carlos Bacca opening the scoring after just two minutes earlier this campaign - set up by a Reyes through-ball.
And Reyes would love a similar story this time around, although he knows it will be far from easy against a Betis side who will again be looking to Europe to ease the misery of their domestic campaign.
Reyes said: "It's true that things have gone well for me in the opening minutes of the last two derbies on our ground, but it's going to be a different game.
"I hope it will be like those last two games against Betis at the Pizjuan, but we know that this is very difficult."
Sevilla, the 2006 and 2007 UEFA Cup winners, head into the match as the most in-form team in La Liga after winning their last three matches to move to within two points of sixth-placed Real Sociedad and the European spots.
However, former Real Madrid and Arsenal winger Reyes is well aware the form book means little when it comes to derbies.
He said in AS: "I face a derby the same as any other game, but it's true it feels special, because you experience another intensity.
"It's a game we all like to play in, the city is waiting for this match.
"It doesn't matter who arrives in the best form, it will be joy for whoever wins and failure for whoever doesn't."
Betis will also go into the fixture on the back of a win after defeating Getafe 2-0 in the league at the weekend.
That was only their fourth Primera Division victory of the season but it did little to help their situation at the foot of the table though, as they still lie eight points adrift.
Europe has been a breath of fresh air during a tough campaign for Betis, with the team losing just once in their 10 Europa League outings, but defender Nacho admits he would swap continental success for domestic survival given the choice.
That does not mean he is not desperate to beat Sevilla and reach the last eight, though.
He said at a promotional event: "For me, what I would like is to continue next season in the Primera Division. The most important thing for the club is that we continue in the top flight.
"If, as well as that, we manage to get through the tie, then even better.
"We must continue along the line of the last few matches, although taking it game by game. A derby like this is something historic and we'd also like to get through, keep the dream alive and give the fans a joy they deserve."
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