Football

Sevilla win Europa League final on penalties

Published Add your comment

Football News
24/7

Sevilla lifted their third Europa League title in the last nine seasons as they defeated Benfica 4-2 on penalties in Turin.

The game was goalless after 120 minutes of end-to-end stuff in Italy, but eventually the sides would be separated on penalties as Beto was the hero for Sevilla.

The Portuguese goalkeeper saved penalties from strikers Oscar Cardozo and Rodrigo to end Benfica's hopes of an historic quadruple.

The defeat follows last season's last minute loss to Chelsea and was an eight European final defeat for Benfica, who have not tasted success on the continent since 1962, when Bela Guttman guided them to European Cup success.

Guttman left the club at the end of that season amid a dispute over pay and predicted his former employees wouldn't win a European trophy for 100 years, and his prediction continued to haunt Benfica.

Sevilla went into the game as underdogs having needed last minute goals and a penalty shoot-out to progress this far, while financial difficulties had lead to the departure of star men Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas at the start of the season.

Unai Emeryy's side included ex-Arsenal man Jose Antonio Reyes and midfielders Stephane M'Bia and Daniel Carrico, on loan from English Championship sides Queens Park Rangers and Reading.

Jorge Jesus was unable to call upon the services of Eduardo Salvio, Enzo Perez and Lazar Markovic who were all suspended, but having already sealed a Portuguese league and cup double, and with another Portuguese Cup final on the horizon, the Lisbon outfit would have been confident of lifting the Europa League title.

In a cagey opening, Sevilla looked to assert themselves on their opposition but their overenthusiastic approach lead to early yellow cards for Federico Fazio and Alberto Moreno - both of whom were guilty of fouls on Miralem Sulejmani.

The Serbian attacker felt the force of both challenges and was forced off after just 25 minutes, meaning Jorge Jesus had to shuffle his pack. Andre Almeida was his replacement and he took his place at right back, allowing Maxi Pereira to take up a more advanced role.

The game continued at a high tempo with both sides looking dangerous on the break, and after 37 minutes a counter-attacking move from Sevilla almost opened the scoring.

Moreno found himself on the edge of the Benfica box but he could only curl a left footed effort straight at Jan Oblak.

Minutes later and Sevilla made the first of several penalty appeals when Luisao seemingly man-handled Carlos Bacca in the penalty area. The Sevilla striker did manage to get a shot away and referee Felix Brych waved away Spanish appeals.

The Portuguese outfit ended the first half in the ascendancy and when Pereira was found with a neat pass over the Sevilla backline, goalkeeper Beto had to make a good stop.

Rodrigo then found space in opposition territory but he could only shoot at the goalkeeper before it was Benfica's turn to claim a penalty.

As Gaitan raced through on goal Fazio stretched out a long leg in an attempt to stop him but it appeared the defender had only succeeded in bringing down his Argentine compatriot.

Once again Brych waved away appeals and the teams would go into the break level.

The second half began in much the same vein, with both teams looking to attack and it was Benfica who almost broke the deadlock.

Just like in the first half, it was a counter attack that undone the defence, and when Lima shot past Beto he must have thought he'd scored. Nico Pareja had other ideas though, and the defender cleared off the line to keep the scores even.

Sevilla captain Ivan Rakitic had been at the centre of his sides best football and when he picked out the on-rushing Coke just after the hour the full-back pulled the ball back to Reyes but he failed to finish and Oblak saved his effort comfortably.

Tiredness was beginning to set in as normal time drew to an end, but Benfica nearly grabbed a late winner when Lima cut in from the left-hand touchline and unleashed a fearsome drive that had Beto scrambling to stop.

As the tie went to extra time the tension in the stadium was palpable, and chances were at a premium as both sides were running on empty, but Sevilla would come close to finding the net.

Man of the Match Rakitic produced a perfect half-volley to send Bacca racing past the Benfica defence and with only Oblak to beat it looked like we had a winner, but the Colombian shot wide.

Moments later Sevilla would bring on Kevin Gameiro to replace Chelsea loanee Marko Marin who had only enterred the fray late in normal time as a replacement for Reyes.

The decision proved inspired though, as the French striker would go on to play a pivotal role.

As time ran out a number of players began to suffer with cramp and the dreaded penalty shoot-out seemed inevitable.

Benfica got us underway in stylish fashion as Lima cooly slotted home, but the energetic Bacca levelled things up with a powerful effort.

Things were downhill from there for Jorge Jesus' men and weak attempts from Cardozo and Rodrigo were saved by Beto.

M'Bia and Coke slammed home their penalties to put the pressure on Luisao and Benfica. The big Brazilian had to score to keep his team in the match and he did exactly that, sending Beto the wrong way to make sure he still had a chance to get his hands on the trophy.

Gameiro had other ideas though, and he struck a low effort hard to Oblak's right. The Slovenian goalkeeper guessed the right way but he was powerless to prevent the crucial spot-kick.

After nine long months and 19 games, Sevilla's 2013/14 Europa League campaign had ended in penalty success - just as it had in 2007 when they beat La Liga rivals Espanyol 3-1 on penalties to lift a second consecutive title.

Benfica's quadruple dreams were over, and after a second successive Europa League final heartbreak it seems the curse of Bela Guttman is still going strong.

Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms

Topics:
Football
Europa League

Article Comments

Report author of article

Please let us know if you believe this article is in violation of our editorial policy, please only report articles for one of the following reasons.

Report author

DISCLAIMER

This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Want more content like this?

Like our GiveMeSport Facebook Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to Facebook, don't ask me again

Follow GiveMeSport on Twitter and you will get this directly to you.

Already Following, don't ask me again

Like our GiveMeSport Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to G+, don't ask me again