• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Europa League final: Sevilla pick their spot to shoot down Benfica in Turin

Amid the din inside the Juventus Stadium last night a few words would ring out towards Benfica officials.

Sevilla: Europa League champions 2014
Sevilla: Europa League champions 2014

They had come from Bela Guttman, the Hungarian coach who claimed that the Portuguese club would never win another European final after he stormed out of the club in 1962. He had just delivered consecutive European Cups.

Since then Benfica had since fallen short in seven European finals, with their failure last night comprising perhaps their most limp surrender. A final with Sevilla went to penalties and the Spaniards needed only to score four of them. Benfica managed just two.

Oscar Cardozo and Rodrigo both missed to allow substitute Kevin Gameiro to thump the ball in from the spot decisively. Sevilla had been in control of the ball too early on and might have scored through Carlos Bacca after just nine minutes. The Colombian raced into the penalty box to keep up with a swift counter-attack but, after coming up just short on Ivan Rakitic's low cross from the left, Bacca was ruled offside.

Sevilla goalkeeper Beto was called into action for the first time when Nicolas Gaitan's free-kick dipped towards the far post, with Ezequiel Garay then repelled on the rebound.

Both sides traded blows in Turin and it would be Alberto Moreno who became the first Sevilla player to truly test Jan Oblak, the Benfica goalkeeper. A drive from outside the box forcing the Slovene off his line to tip the ball over.

Benfica forced their way back into the match and caught the Spanish side unaware as Maxi Pereira loped into the box to fire a shot straight at Beto. Sevilla were perhaps lucky to avoid conceding a penalty since Federico Fazio had climbed all over Gaitan as he awaited the rebound.

Benfica pushed through that disappointment, though, but neither Rodrigo nor Lima could punish their opponents for moments of ropey defending. Jose Reyes suffered a similar fate for the Spaniards when he was unable to get on the end of a pass into the box.

Extra-time seemed inevitable and, just after Garay's desperate swing at a loose ball spooned over the bar, the final whistle sounded. The Argentine tried his luck again in the second half of extra time and Beto then parried Lima's free-kick wide.

It looked like the crowd would finally be treated to a goal when Bacca raced down the right wing, only for his drive to fizz past a post.

Despite the best efforts of 22 tired players, the second half of extra time offered no deciding moment and a penalty shoot-out was all that could separate the teams. Lima and Bacca both converted from 12 yards before Cardozo's stuttering run-up led him to clip a shot straight at Beto.

Stephane Mbia then powered home to put Sevilla on the verge of victory as Rodrigo was denied. Coke scored, Luisao brought Benfica a stay of execution but substitute Gameiro sparked celebrations from the spot.

Contextual targeting label: 
Football

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

233573