Sevilla collected its record seventh Europa League trophy after beating Roma on Wednesday. Bookings and minor injuries were themes for this match. In fact, the fixture lasted just about three hours in total. Nevertheless, Gonzalo Montiel, the player to convert the final penalty for Argentina in the World Cup, would also get to score the match-winner on Wednesday.
The game was essentially the perfect matchup for the competition. Sevilla entered the massive match with six Europa League titles to its name. Four of these triumphs occurred in the last 10 years. Roma, on the other hand, has a manager that was unbeaten in five previous European finals. Jose Mourinho collected titles with Porto, Inter Milan, Manchester United and Roma.
Roma takes lead after slow start
With the two clubs quite similar and even on paper, there were not many scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes of the match. However, Roma undoubtedly had the biggest scoring opportunity in this timeframe. Leonardo Spinazzola found himself free atop the Sevilla box in acres of space. The Italian sent in a dangerous shot in a good area, but his effort went straight to Yassine Bounou. It would have been a certain goal if the shot was not directly at the goalkeeper.
Nevertheless, Roma opened the scoring in the 35th minute thanks to a goal by Paulo Dybala. Gianluca Mancini recovered possession in the middle of the pitch, looked up, and found Dybala with a beautiful through ball to cut the Sevilla defense. The World Cup winner then slotted a left-footed shot to the back post, past Bono. It was Dybala’s 17th total goal of the season for the Romans.
The match entered halftime with Roma ahead. However, Sevilla had two significant chances to level the scoreline just before the break. Fernando first sent a header over the bar after he was unmarked inside the six-yard box. Ivan Rakitic then hit the post just moments before the halftime whistle. The former Barcelona star struck a lethal long-range effort that was inches from tying the game.
Spanish side comes out swinging in second half
Sevilla, however, leveled the score less than 10 minutes into the second half. After a steady stream of play on the Roma side of the pitch, Mancini put the ball into his own net. The goal was created by Jesus Navas, as he sent in a quality cross into Roma’s box. Mancini attempted to mark an opposing player but ended up scoring the goal from a deflection.
The Spanish side was then given a penalty in the 75th minute after Lucas Ocampos was seemingly tripped by Roger Ibanez. However, match referee Anthony Taylor reviewed the incident and reversed his initial call. Replays showed that Ibanez did slightly touch the Sevilla winger, but the contact was fairly minimal. The Roma defender first made contact with the ball as well.
Roma then thought they had a penalty of its own six minutes later. A cross into Sevilla’s box struck a defender’s outstretched hand. Nevertheless, Taylor and VAR decided not to get involved in the incident. A Roma assistant coach was eventually booked for complaining about the non-call.
Sevilla uses penalties to beat Roma in Europa League
With the two teams level after 90 minutes, the match went into extra time. Both clubs were hesitant to take too many chances going forward in the extra periods and the game eventually went to penalties. However, there would be late drama involving Mourinho. Players and staff held the coach back during a confrontation with the Sevilla bench.
Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed. Then, penalties decided the winner. Although the first three penalty-takers converted their spot kicks, Mancini was the first player to blink. Bono saved the tame shot with his feet after diving to his left. Ibanez then failed to score his shot as well in Roma’s next round.
World Cup-winning defender Gonzalo Montiel would eventually score the winning kick to clinch another Europa League Final for Sevilla over Roma. The Argentine, however, saw his initial shot saved by Rui Patricio. Nevertheless, VAR intervened and determined that Patricio encroached on the shot. Montiel then converted his retake to give Sevilla the victory.
PHOTO: IMAGO /Insidefoto
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