Sevilla in seventh heaven after Europa League win

Sevilla in seventh heaven after Europa League win
Sevilla players celebrate with the trophy after winning the UEFA Europa League final football match between Sevilla FC and AS Roma at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on Wednesday. (AFP)
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Updated 01 June 2023
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Sevilla in seventh heaven after Europa League win

Sevilla in seventh heaven after Europa League win
  • Gonzalo Montiel netted the decisive spot-kick after Mancini and Roger Ibanez had failed to convert for Roma
  • Sevilla made it seven wins in seven finals in Europe’s second-tier competition

BUDAPEST: Sevilla found their Europa League magic formula on Wednesday, beating Roma 4-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw to make it seven wins in seven finals in Europe’s second-tier competition.

The Spanish side trailed after Paulo Dybala’s first-half opener in Budapest but pulled level in the second period when Roma defender Gianluca Mancini scored an own goal.

Extra-time could not separate the teams and the game went to penalties at the Puskas Arena.

Gonzalo Montiel, who scored the winning penalty in the 2022 World Cup final, netted the decisive spot-kick after Mancini and Roger Ibanez had failed to convert for Roma.

Earlier, Paulo Dybala put Jose Mourinho’s Roma in front in the 35th minute only for a revitalized Sevilla to drew level 10 minutes after the break through a Mancini own goal.

The fans created a crackling atmosphere before kickoff but the early stages of the game did not match the color in the stands.

The Italian side created the first opportunity of the match but Leonardo Spinazzola shot straight at Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bounou after neat build-up play involving Dybala and Zeki Celik.

Just after the half-hour, Roma appealed for a spot-kick after forward Tammy Abraham was caught on the head by a high boot from Nemanja Gudelj as the Sevilla defender was clearing the ball but VAR confirmed it was not a penalty.

But minutes later they were in front.

Dybala ran between two defenders and latched onto Mancini’s through ball from the center circle, coolly slotting his shot past Bounou.

Sevilla, finally finding some fluency, came agonizingly close to levelling deep into the seven minutes of added-on time when Ivan Rakitic drilled a fierce left-footed strike from distance that cannoned back off an upright.

Sevilla boss Jose Luis Mendilibar brought on forward Suso and Erik Lamela for Oliver Torres and Bryan Gil at the break and the Spanish side began the second period on the front foot.

They were level after 10 minutes when Mancini bundled a Jesus Navas cross from the right into his own net from close range.

Roma seemed certain to re-take the lead against the run of play midway through the second half but the Sevilla defenders somehow scrambled the ball away after several stabs at goal from close range.

Dybala, starting a match for the first time since mid-April, was withdrawn, with midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum coming on to replace him.

Sevilla thought they had a penalty with 15 minutes to go after referee Anthony Taylor ruled that Ibanez had brought down Lucas Ocampos but the decision was overturned by VAR.

The Italian side should have been ahead in the 83rd minute but substitute Andrea Belotti failed to keep his shot on target with only the goalkeeper to beat after captain Lorenzo Pellegrini found him with a clever dinked free-kick.

Extra time was largely uneventful as tempers flared between the two benches but Roma defender Chris Smalling almost snatched the win when he hit the woodwork with a looping header from a corner in the dying seconds.

Sevilla had the advantage in the shootout when Mancini’s penalty was saved and when Ibanez hit the post the Spanish side appeared certain winners.

But there was still more drama to come.

Montiel’s effort was saved by Rui Patricio but the kick was ordered to be re-taken after an encroachment by the goalkeeper and this time the Argentine made no mistake.