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Sevilla Win Their Seventh Europa League Crown Amid Bants and Rant

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – At the end of a long, dramatic, ugly night in Budapest, another slice of European history for Sevilla. 

It took more than 130 minutes, eight penalties, at least a dozen bookings and innumerable rounds of whingeing and warring between both benches. But eventually Sevilla did as they always do. They triumphed in the Europa League and, in so doing, inflicted a first defeat on this stage on Jose Mourinho. 

Between them, the Roma manager and their Spanish opponents had tasted only victory across a combined 11 European finals. So naturally they could not be separated for over 90 minutes. Or 120. 

And so it went to penalties, where Gonzalo Montiel scored the winning penalty – just as he did for Argentina in last year’s World Cup final. 

This time, he needed two bites at the cherry. His first penalty was saved but Rui Patricio was punished for encroaching. Montiel profited to cap a remarkable turnaround for Sevilla, who trailed on the night and were battling relegation until Jose Luis Mendilibar arrived in March. He has now secured their seventh Europa League title. No one else has won it more than three times. 

The real hero of the night, however, was referee Anthony Taylor, who somehow managed to keep a football match going amid all the histrionics and moaning. Mourinho was at the centre of it until the last, of course. 

But Roma’s pursuit of a second successive European triumph – after last year’s Europa Conference League win – ended in heartbreak. 

They were on course for victory after Paulo Dybala’s first-half goal. 

But no one rises to Europa League occasions quite like Sevilla and Mendilibar’s side sent the tie into extra-time courtesy of an own goal from Gianluca Mancini. 

Remarkably, it was the first goal a Mourinho side had conceded in a European final since 2003. 

Mancini then missed his spot-kick. So did Roger Ibanez. Before Montiel finally ended the drama. 

‘What I said is we either leave here with the Cup or we leave dead. Well, we’re dead. We’re dead tired physically, dead tired mentally, dead because we think it is an unjust defeat with lots of incidents that are debatable,’ Mourinho told Sky Sport Italia in the aftermath.

‘We are dead tired, but proud. I always say you can lose a football match, but never your dignity or professionalism. 

‘I won five European finals, I lost this one, but I return home prouder than ever this time. The lads gave absolutely everything this season.’

He added: ‘We care about the shirt, we care about our nature, we take things seriously, work with humility and give everything we have to give. 

‘Each of us reacts in a different way, one cries another doesn’t, but the truth is we are all very sad. 

‘We return dead tired, dead with feeling it is unjust.


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