Sevilla saw their 14-month unbeaten home record ended by Real Madrid at the weekend, but they recovered in style as a brace from defender Aleix Vidal and a strike from substitute Kevin Gameiro helped them claim a valuable advantage to take to Italy for next week’s second leg.
Vidal struck in the 17th and 52nd minutes before Gameiro added the third 15 minutes from time, but Fiorentina will be kicking themselves for not getting at least one away goal.
They spurned a host of chances in the first half and were made to pay as Sevilla made it seven European wins from seven at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan this season.
The first opening of the match fell the visitors’ way and striker Mario Gomez was left holding his head in his hands after blazing wildly over from the edge of the area following a fine pass by Joaquin.
Sevilla, who also lifted the UEFA Cup in 2006 and 2007, responded with a low shot from Carlos Bacca that was straight at Murara Neto, but the hosts did not have to wait too much longer to take the lead.
After a Fiorentina attack had broken down, Sevilla swept up the other end and Bacca picked up possession in the area before laying it across to the unmarked Vidal, who drilled home a first-time shot from the edge of the box.
That was the only goal of the first half, but Fiorentina should have netted at least twice.
Seconds after Vidal’s goal, Matias Fernandez somehow contrived to miss a gilt-edged chance following more good work by Spaniard Joaquin – a former favourite of Sevilla’s arch-rivals Real Betis – before the Chile international saw another opportunity blocked by home keeper Sergio Rico.
Rico then did superbly to save from Mohamed Salah when an equaliser looked certain, while the Egypt international was also denied what looked to be a good claim for a penalty.
The half ended with another penalty incident, with referee Felix Brych infuriating the home side by blowing the half-time whistle just as Grzegorz Krychowiak looked to have been fouled in the area.
Sevilla did not have to dwell on that frustration, though, as they made it 2-0 seven minutes into the second half when Vidal drilled in a shot at the near post that Neto should have done better with.
The hosts then netted the goal that could well have put the tie beyond Fiorentina, with Gameiro scoring within 30 seconds of replacing Bacca in the 74th minute.
Benoit Tremoulinas got to the byline before pulling the ball back to Vidal, whose side-footed attempt to net his hat-trick was going wide but was diverted into the net by Gameiro with his first touch of the game.
Ever Banega mis-kicked when presented with a good chance to make it 4-0 soon after as Fiorentina’s defence was ripped open again, and then Rico ensured the visitors would not snatch a late away goal when he parried Fernandez free-kick.