Sevilla shocked Jose Mourinho’s Roma to win their seventh Europa League title in 17 years, on penalties, as they ended the ‘Special One’s’ undefeated record in European finals.
Despite goals from Paulo Dybala and an own goal from Gianluca Mancini it was a poor 120 minutes of football on display from both teams.
After a period of extra time that would have put many to sleep, the game went to penalties as May became June in front of the players and fans eyes.
Mancini and Roger Ibanez both failed to score their spot kicks, giving Gonzalo Montiel the chance to wrap up the trophy for the Spanish side.
Montiel had scored the winning penalty in the World Cup final last December but had his effort in Budapest saved, only for the referee to order a re-take with the goalkeeper off his line. Montiel made no mistake the second time and won the game.
It was never expected to be a classic final between two teams who needed to win in order to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Of course the promise of further European participation was not the driving factor for two entities that just love winning European trophies.
For Sevilla it was their seventh Europa League final in just under two decades, having won all the previous six and turned the competition into their own.
It was the Italians who started quicker trying to force things, with Paulo Dybala starting upfront just days after the manager had said he’d be able to play ’20-30 minutes.’
The former Juventus star shifted the ball onto his left foot and slotted home beautifully past Bono in the Sevilla goal to put his side ahead.
There were seven minutes of injury time added at the end of the first half, despite there being little major incident and no injuries, rather proving how scrappy and stop start the game had been.
Mourinho had been 1-0 up at half time in all his previous European finals and so it proved again, though Sevilla had come from behind in each of their three previous successes.
The Spanish side were much improved at the start of the second half and were level after just 10 minutes, when Mancini headed into his own goal.
Former Manchester City star Jesus Navas was coming more into the game and he put in a perfect cross into the box, which the Roma player was only able to divert past Rui Patricio as he tried to stop Lucas Ocampos trying to get to the ball first.
To be perfectly honest that was as exciting as it got other than Anthony Taylor giving the La Liga side a penalty only to overturn it when he checked the VAR screen.
Taylor was actually having a brilliant game having to deal with all the fouls added to the antics off the pitch, which earned Mourinho a yellow card.
Penalties were inevitable after a poor extra time period that was further stretched out by the number of stoppages for more fouls and substitutions.
Then it was time for Sevilla to come alive and inevitably win the trophy, they’ll no doubt finish third in their Champions League group and win it all over again next year…