Sevilla beat Benfica 4-2 on penalties after a goalless draw in normal time to win the Europa League final, extending the Portuguese side’s extraordinary run of defeats in European finals.
Sevilla, twice winners of the old UEFA Cup, lifted the trophy for the third time and left Benfica to reflect on their eighth successive loss in a European final.
We have learnt to fight and cope with the difficult moments and we came out on top.
“Benfica were a just finalist like we were and it was a game where there were moments they were on top, others when we were,” Sevilla coach Unai Emery told Spanish media.
“We have learnt to fight and cope with the difficult moments and we came out on top.”
There was little excitement in an often scrappy first half until Benfica fullback Maxi Pereira failed to lob the ball over goalkeeper Beto who blocked another effort by Rodrigo in the following attack.
Benfica should have gone ahead in the 48th minute when Lima had a shot blocked off the line by Nicolas Pareja after being cleverly set up by Pereira and Rodrigo’s follow-up was also blocked.
At the other end, Luisao saved Benfica with a perfectly timed tackle on Jose Antonio Reyes.
Pereira then set up another chance for Lima when he got in behind the Sevilla defence and this time the Brazilian forward completely missed his kick.
Benfica’s missed chances
Lima nearly grabbed a late winner with a dipping long-range effort which Beto just managed to turn over the crossbar.
Then Ezequiel Garay headed over at the far post from a floated cross.
Benfica failed to carry the momentum into extra-time and Sevilla nearly went ahead when Ivan Rakitic sent Carlos Bacca clear down the right but the Colombian fired his just over the bar.
Gameiro fired into the side-netting in the second half of extra-time after another break down the right.
By that time, fatigue had crept in, the pace had slowed and the game was littered with mistakes.
Benfica had the better of the 90 minutes but the confidence seemed to drain out of them in extra-time.
Sevilla won the toss and took the penalties in front of their own fans as Benfica’s Oscar Cardozo and Rodrigo had successive penalties saved by Beto.
Kevin Gameiro stroked home Sevilla’s winner from the spot to hand the Spanish side the trophy.