Europa League preview: Sevilla v Porto

Porto edged the first game. Photo: PA

Sevilla defender Nicolas Pareja has backed his side to win against Porto on Thursday night and progress to the semi-finals of the Europa League.

The Spanish outfit went down 1-0 in the first leg last week,Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala scoring the only goal of the game at the Dragao stadium.

That put the Portuguese giants in pole position to make it into the last four, but Pareja said he and his team-mates were taking heart from their 4-1 home triumph over Espanyol at the weekend.

"It was important for us to return to winning ways after our defeat at FC Porto," the Argentinian centre-back said to www.sevillafc.es.

"We proved against Espanyol that we have the players and the determination to turn things around.

"The tie is wide open. FC Porto are unbeaten in this competition and we respect them. However, we will go all out to win and progress to the next round."

Sunday's victory allowed Sevilla, who are fifth in the Primera Division, to climb three points clear of nearest rivals Real Sociedad.

Sevilla - UEFA Cup winners in 2006 and 2007 - have lost just one game at home in European competition this season - a 2-0 defeat to city rivals Real Betis in the previous round.

Sevilla coach Unai Emery will be hoping to recover defender Daniel Carrico, who is doubtful with a muscular injury.

Porto warmed up for the encounter at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium with a 3-1 win over Academica de Coimbra on Sunday.

The outcome lifted the Dragons to third place, 15 points adrift of league leaders Benfica.

Porto coach Luis Castro will be forced to make changes to his starting line-up with midfielder Fernando and striker Jackson Martinez suspended for the game in Andalusia.

Despite that setback, Porto are confident they can reach the last four.

"Jackson and Fernando are two crucial players for us," Porto defender Mangala said.

"But we have a very strong group and I know we are going to make up for their absence."