Football

Sevilla beat Benfica to win Europa League

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Sevilla won their third title (©GettyImages)
Sevilla won their third title (©GettyImages).

Sevilla overcame Benfica 4-2 on penalties to win the UEFA Europa League in Turin.

The match finished goalless after extra time at the Juventus Stadium, and Oscar Cardozo and Rodrigo missed for the Portuguese side before substitute Kevin Gameiro slotted home the winning kick.

Unai Emery’s side’s campaign began in the third qualifying round in August, where financial issues saw them forced to sell key players Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo to Manchester City.

But 19 games later they are the first Spanish team to win the competition three times, adding to their triumphs in 2006 and 2007 which they also won on spot-kicks.

However, the European curse of Jorge Jesus’ side continued as they fell at the final hurdle for the second straight year, and still await their first continental success since 1962.

They also missed out on the opportunity to win an unprecedented quadruple, but can still complete the treble if they beat Rio Ave in the Taca de Portugal final on Saturday to add to their Primeira Liga and Taca da Liga titles.

Benfica were already missing key players and they lost another midway through the first half when Miralem Sulejmani limped off injured.

Both sides had penalty appeals waved away by German referee Felix Brych. Benfica skipper Luisao appeared to haul down Carlos Bacca at one end, while Nicolas Gaitan saw his leg hooked by Sevilla centre-half Federico Fazio at the other.

The best chance of the game fell to Rodrigo Lima in the second half. The Portuguese side’s top scorer in the competition found himself in acres of space, but he took too long and saw his drilled effort cleared off the line by Nicolas Pareja.

Jorge Jesus’ men also went closest to breaking the deadlock in normal time. A long-range Lima effort was well pushed over the bar by Beto, before Ezequiel Garay couldn’t keep his header down a minute later.

Extra-time followed and Sevilla very nearly stole the lead on the counter-attack 11 minutes in. A sublime ball from Ivan Rakitic released Bacca who took the ball into his stride, but shot agonisingly wide with the outside of his right foot.

Gameiro hit the side-netting from a tight angle with what was the only half-chance in the second period, and the match edged towards a penalty shootout.

Each side had enjoyed recent success in shootouts, with Sevilla beating rivals Real Betis in the round of 16.

Lima and Bacca exchanged successful kicks, before a possibly overconfident Oscar Cardozo was thwarted by Beto.

Stephane Mbia and Giles Coke converted to put the Spaniards 3-1 up after Rodrigo’s tame effort was kept out.

Skipper Luisao kept his side’s hopes alive but very briefly, as Gameiro thumped home the winning kick.

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Topics:
La Liga
Football
Europa League
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