Tuesday, October 3

The Sevilla star weighs more than Mourinho’s

There could only be one. Neither Sevilla nor José Mourinho had tasted the bitter taste of defeat in a European final and therefore one of the two was doomed to do so for the first time in Budapest. After a grueling 120-minute battle, the penalties smiled on the one who always finds a happy ending in the Europa League.

As the passionate Sevilla fans recalled in the typhus that they showed before the final, the Europa League is the Seville empire, not the Roman Empire, no matter how much the ‘giallorosso’ team wore the Latin inscription SPQR on their shirt in honor of the glorious past of the Eternal City. The Seventh arrived in agony, after almost two and a half hours of football and dispute. The always dramatic resolution from eleven meters was the triumph of normality, that rare virtue with which José Luis Mendilibar has turned a team that was close to relegation to Second into champion.

Just as planned in the evening’s programme, Roma opted for withdrawal and its powerful passing game against Sevilla’s attempt to threaten from ball possession and positional play. The Spanish team lacked depth and clarity of starting ideas, those characteristics that Bryan Gil and Óliver Torres are destined to provide.


Bono, Navas (Montiel, min. 94), Badé, Gudelj (Marcao, min. 127), Telles (Rekik, min. 94), Fernando (Jordán, min. 129), Rakitic, Ocampos, Óliver Torres (Suso, min. 46), Bryan Gil (Lamela, min. 46) and En-Nesyri.



  • Goals:
    0-1: minutes 35, Dybala. 1-1: minutes 55, Mancini, own goal.

  • Penalties:
    1-0: Ocampos. 1-1: Christian. 2-1: Lick it. 2-1: Mancini, for Bono. 3-1: Rakitic. 3-1: Ibáñez, for Bono. 4-1: Montiel.

  • Referee:

  • Anthony Taylor (England). He booked Matic, Rafa Mir, Pellegrini, Mancini, Cristante, Rakitic, Çelik, Zalewski, Lamela, Joan Jordán, Mourinho, Montiel, Ocampos and Karsdorp.

  • Incidents:
    Final of the Europa League played at the Puskas Arena in Budapest.

Meanwhile, Mourinho’s Roma, solid as a rock to avoid the rival’s progression, found Dybala too easily, an absolutely differential player. The Argentine faked a deflected shot, the first of the duel, and then took out the magic lamp to find Çelik in the Sevilla area, whose cross was wasted by Spinazzola when he finished off Bono’s cross with his right foot, his bad leg.

In the matched battle, the Italian team offered better sensations, with the duel controlled and more incisive through their dangerous arreones. He does not need to produce much in attack for the transalpine team and is a very tough nut to crack. Impeccable tactical approach, with Smalling as an antidote to En-Nesyri for any high ball. The Moroccan striker, a specialist in receiving with his back to the goal and opening spaces for any teammate, was controlled to the maximum by the English central defender, Mourinho’s Praetorian par excellence.

The script seemed good for Roma, but it became idyllic in a seemingly innocuous midfield battle that Cristante beat Rakitic. The Croatian protested the foul just before Mancini drew a perfect pass for Dybala, who did the rest in true Dybala style: exquisite control and no less good definition with that left foot touched by the wand.

Sevilla, living up to that motto that says they never give up, reacted with honor and threatened to equalize on a high header from Fernando. Although none of the many lateral centers that Mendilibar’s team put up surpassed those immense romanista defensive towers, Rakitic was very close to finding the key with a left-footed shot from the edge of the area that ran into the wood.

Despite the good end of the first part of Sevilla, Mendilibar changed his cards on the table and sought with Lamela and Suso all the verticality that he had lacked through Bryan Gil and Óliver Torres. It had an effect, as the Nervión team was more aggressive after the break. He struck and struck in a scenario very similar to the one that Roma already experienced in the semifinals against Bayer Leverkusen. Equipped in their area, the ‘giallorosso’ team tried to emulate the praise of the ‘catenaccio’ that they executed in Germany and entrusted their victory to a high-level defensive exercise.

Montiel, again a hero

As in Leverkusen he barely had the ball, he barely stretched beyond his domain, but this time his resistance did not last long and faded in one of those forays down the right wing that Jesús Navas has been signing all his life. The little devil from Los Palacios poisoned her and Mancini shot himself in the foot under pressure from En-Nesyri.

Roma then lost the instruction book. It took him a world to improvise and adapt his game to the new situation. He smelled the blood of the king of the Europa League and seemed like another in the second part. The final was now on their ground, but Mourinho’s men put on their armor and endured the downpour.

The Portuguese traded Dybala’s class for Wijnaldum’s cement and Abraham had it against Bono, before the subsequent hubbub in the Spanish area dissolved without consequences. He had not said the last word about him for Roma, now with Belotti as a buoy man instead of the injured Abraham. The Italian attacker was able to put an end to Sevilla’s illusion when extra time was already in sight, but Bono once again denied the rival’s glory after a rehearsed play.

With Sevilla more physically fit, the final went into extra time after another good chance with a header from En-Nesyri and a shot from Fernando slightly deflected. Montiel and Rekik as fresh wingers and huge doses of physical effort, so much so that it began to take its toll on both teams. There were no fresh legs or clarity of ideas in Sevilla nor was there desire in Roma to prevent the battle from being decided by the capricious fortune of penalties. Montiel, the hero of Argentina in the World Cup, also sealed the epilogue of the Europa League from the fateful point. La Séptima del Sevilla will forever carry the seal of Mendilibar.


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