Sevilla 3-2 Inter: Sevilla win the Europa League!
venerdì 21 agosto 2020
The Spanish side's remarkable love affair with this competition continued as Diego Carlos's spectacular overhead kick, deflected in by Romelu Lukaku, sealed their sixth title.
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Diego Carlos's spectacular overhead kick, deflected in by Romelu Lukaku, sealed a sixth UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League title for Sevilla in an absorbing contest against Inter.
Match in brief
With so much on the line, finals can be cagey affairs, but there was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it energy to the game from the off. A goal inside five minutes helps, of course, as Lukaku's first menacing run was brought to an abrupt halt and the in-form striker duly dispatched his spot kick.
Sevilla responded impressively, as they had to a similar setback against Manchester United in the semi-finals. Then as now Luuk de Jong did the damage, justifying his surprise inclusion in the starting XI with two well-taken headers, a diving effort preceding a towering far-post looper.
Back came Inter, Diego Godín showcasing his own aerial prowess and, while the match grew tense, Lukaku had a golden chance to make it 3-2; one on one with Yassine Bounou, he came off second best. Instead, it was the unlikely figure of Diego Carlos who settled it, his spectacular overhead kick taking a decisive deflection off the unfortunate Lukaku on its way in.
Sevilla have done it again.
Man of the match presented by Hankook Tire Europe: Luuk de Jong (Sevilla)
The Dutchman had not scored in 11 before his winner against United in the semi-finals, but that was enough to convince Lopetegui to hand him a start – boy, did the gamble pay off. Not only did he nod in two sublime headers, but his general link-up and hold-up play was top notch. A strong all-round display.
UEFA technical observers: Packie Bonner, Thomas Schaaf
Joe Walker, Sevilla
Someone needs to write a Hollywood script depicting Sevilla's love affair with the UEFA Europa League – but it would arguably be dismissed as a work of fantasy. They just know how to get the job done in this competition, even when massive underdogs. Hats off to Lopetegui, who got his selection spot on with the call of De Jong to start.
Paolo Menicucci, Inter
On the eve of the game, Inter coach Antonio Conte said he did not want his team to have any regrets after the final whistle. I'm not sure that will be the case, because the Nerazzurri gave everything but failed to play as they had done in previous rounds. Sevilla controlled the midfield and Inter struggled to pose much of a threat through Lukaku and Lautaro Martínez.
Julen Lopetegui, Sevilla coach: "This squad are great. They believe in it, what they work on and what they transmit. Even if we hadn't won I'd still love these guys, but today we take home the prize. We always believed. This team never gives up."
Diego Carlos, Sevilla defender: "All the players gave their best – it's marvellous. This title was very important for all of us. I'm so pleased with all the club has done for me and I'm so happy. I'm going home with a trophy, a goal and a pregnant missus!"
Luuk de Jong, Sevilla striker: "The coach told me this morning I was starting; I told him the other day I was always ready, and luckily it worked for me. Headers are my speciality; the first cross from [Jesús] Navas was perfect and luckily I put it inside the near post. The second one was a great ball from [Éver] Banega, and it's a special goal."
Jesús Navas, Sevilla captain: "The group deserves this. We've been fighting all season and getting over the problems that we've encountered. This is also for the fans, who deserve to wake up happy every day."
Antonio Conte, Inter coach: "I don't have many regrets now: my players gave really everything they had against a team used to playing these kinds of games. I think their experience in this sense made the difference in the end tonight."
Samir Handanovič, Inter goalkeeper: "It could have gone the other way in the second half. We had the chance to take the lead but we missed it. Sevilla were more tired than we were towards the end but they had a chance, the ball was deflected off Romelu's foot and went in. It happens. We are very disappointed but we have to move on."
- Sevilla have a perfect record in UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League finals: six games, six wins.
- The Spanish side's six titles is twice as many as any other side has managed: Inter, Liverpool, Juventus and Atlético de Madrid have won three apiece.
- De Jong is the 12th player to score two goals in a one-off UEFA Europa League/UEFA Cup final. Nobody has registered a hat-trick.
- Lukaku scored for the 11th UEFA Europa League game running, extending his all-time competition record (Alan Shearer is second on eight games).
- The fifth-minute penalty was the earliest final goal since Markus Babbel's third-minute effort for Liverpool against Alavés in 2001 – also in Germany, in Dortmund.
- Sevilla centre-back Diego Carlos conceded penalties in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.
- Julen Lopetegui joins Sevilla predecessors Juande Ramos (2006, 2007) and Unai Emery (2014, 2015, 2016) plus Rafael Benítez (2004, 2013), Luis Molowny (1985, 1986) and Quique Sánchez Flores (2010) as a victorious Spanish coach in this competition.
- The tally of four first-half goals matched the record for a UEFA Europa League/UEFA Cup final set in 2001 and repeated in 2015.
Sevilla: Bounou; Navas, Koundé, Diego Carlos (Gudelj 86), Reguilón; Jordán, Fernando, Banega; Ocampos (Munir 71), De Jong (En-Nesyri 85), Suso (Vázquez 78)
Inter: Handanovič; Godín (Candreva 90), De Vrij, Bastoni; D'Ambrosio (Moses 78), Barella, Brozović, Gagliardini (Eriksen 78), Young; Lukaku, Lautaro Martínez (Alexis Sánchez 78)
Sevilla will contest the UEFA Super Cup against UEFA Champions League winners Paris or Bayern in Budapest on 24 September. Sevilla and Inter will both line up in the UEFA Champions League group stage draw in Athens on 1 October.