Spanish club Sevilla has won the Europa League trophy for the third time in eight years after overcoming Portuguese champions Benfica in penalty shoot out.
Former Benfica coach Bela Guttman had famously quoted in 1962 that they would have to wait 100 years for their next European title when he resigned from his job because of no salary and that “curse” continued after defeat in Torino, their eighth since Bela’s prediction. This defeat ends Benfica’s chances of ending the season with quadruple.
Sevilla, meanwhile, have become one of the most successful teams in Europe. The Andalusians have won this trophy for consecutive two years in 2006 and 2007.
The game ended in a stalemate but Sevilla overcome Benfica in penalties as all 4 shots of Spaniards were goals while Oscar Cardozo and Rodrigo missed to score for Benfica.
Both teams started the game on positive note as the first chance arrived in the 14th minute when Beto made intelligent save of Gaitan’s free kick. Alberto Moreno was Sevilla’s first player to have a shot on goal in 37th minute has he made excellent run from the right side but his effort was blocked Benfica keeper Jan Oblak.
Sevilla seemed to have control over the game in the first half but Benfica created one more clear chance than the Andalucian as Beto saved short range effort of Maxi Perreira while he has to work hard to save Rodrigo’s excellent run off the ball.
Benfica also had an upper hand in the starting minutes of the second half as both Rodrigo and Lima created good chances, only to be blocked by Pareja and Jose Antonio Reyes respectively. Sevilla recovered well from these early setbacks as they were comfortably defending Benfica’s attackers and at the same time, creating their own chances.
Benfica came close to score when Lima made nice run through the left side only to be blocked by Sevilla keeper Beto. Garay also came close to score in the stoppage time when his volley went just off the mark. In 30 minutes of additional time,only Becca came close to scoring when his shot went just wide of the goal post.
Benfica coach Jorge Jesus claimed after the game that his side played well in whole game but lacked belief in penalties. “Sevilla started off better than Benfica,” Jorge Jesus said, “but, as the match progressed, Benfica improved, showed it was the better team, more of a team and in the second half showed its power, had a number of opportunities to score, wasn’t able to and then in extra-time was the team that played more. But the team that believed in the penalties was Sevilla and Sevilla ended up winning.
“Today in the game the best team did not win. The Benfica players should be congratulated. There’s nothing I can criticise.”
Meanwhile, Sevilla boss Unai Emery was seemingly happy with his sides’ trophy and claimed that best team won. “I think that the best team did win,” said the Sevilla coach. “I think the result was fair and we deserved to win this. We fought until the end. It’s a very special evening for all our fans.
“This competition is a competition that our fans really like because we’ve won it before. We’ve worked really hard because we thought we had the responsibility to win, but of course to win sometimes you have to suffer, but we’ve have learnt to suffer and that’s why we reached the final today. We suffered against Betis, against Porto and against Valencia. We know how to suffer and that’s why we won.”
Sevilla’s victory mean that both of Europe’s top honours, namely UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions league, will be won by only Spanish clubs this season.