Sevilla 1-1 Roma
Sevilla win 4-1 on penalties
Sevilla are the Europa League 2023 champions, winning the trophy for a record seventh time as Argentine defender Gonzalo Montiel slotted home the winning penalty in a shootout at Budapest’s Puskas Arena.
Paulo Dybala gave Roma a first half lead but Sevilla hit back thanks to a Gianluca Mancini own goal and then a tightly contested match went to extra time and penalties. Roma boss Jose Mourinho came into the match with a 100 per cent record in European finals while Sevilla were record six times winners of the Europa League and it was Jose’s record which went.
For Sevilla boss, Jose Luis Mendilibar, this was his first chance of a major trophy but, when he arrived at the club in spring, if someone had told the Sevilla players they would be comfortably mid table and in this final by May they would have been delighted.
Neither side finished in the top four of their domestic leagues so this was the only hope of reaching next season’s Champions League and Sevilla’s campaign has ended on a high. Los Sevillistas saw off Juventus to get to the final so they probably fancied this, though the Europa League 2023 betting odds here at SBOTOP rated Roma as slight favourites at a price of 1.83.
Highlights of the game
In a cagey first half Roma’s game plan went to perfection. Sevilla had the possession and the shots but I Giallorossi went into the break with a one goal advantage. 35 minutes were on the clock when Bryan Cristante won the ball in midfield and passed to Gianluca Mancini who slid a perfect pass through to Dybala and the Argentine striker did the rest, firing the ball, low into the corner, to send the Roma fans wild.
Sevilla almost levelled when Ivan Rakitic took aim from 25 yards, but his shot cannoned back off the upright and Roma keeper Rui Patricio was lucky the rebound didn’t hit him as it flew to safety.
The Spaniards had the 45 minute challenge of trying to break down a Mourinho team which has a 1-0 lead… and that is some task. But within ten minutes they were level. Jesus Navas stole a yard on the wing and fired a cross into the danger area where Youssef En Nesyri challenged and the ball flew into the net off the unfortunate Mancini. And, on 75 minutes, the Spaniards thought they had a penalty when Roger Ibanez felled Lucas Ocampos and referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot, but a quick look at the VAR screen showed that Ibanez had won the ball.
And so to extra time when, well, virtually nothing happened as both teams prepared for penalties, but in a rare piece of action Roma’s Chris Smalling saw a looping header bounce back off the bar.
The penalties were taken at the end occupied by the Sevilla fans and when Bono saved Mancini’s spot kick that gave the Spaniards a 2-1 advantage. And when Ibanez hit the post, the door was open for Montiel to win the trophy for Sevilla.
While they have struggled in the league, Sevilla’s Europa League 2023 results were pretty much perfect, and they had a decent first half tonight, despite going behind, with seven shots to Roma’s two.
The stats favoured the Spaniards throughout, as they led by 16 shots to nine by the 90 minute mark but neither keeper was overworked, and after 36 minutes of extra time the count went to 18 to nine.
After this epic battle both teams still have a league match to come. Sevilla are away to Real Sociedad in their final La Liga game, while Roma host Spezia in their last Serie A match. I Giallorossi can’t make a top four place but they are in danger of slipping out of the top six if they fail to win and Juventus beat Udinese. Spezia desperately need a result as they sit outside the drop zone on goal difference alone.
Los Sevillistas can rise as high as seventh with a win while La Real’s fourth place is already confirmed.
And there is plenty of big match action to come this weekend. On Saturday the FA Cup final, which pitches the two Manchester giants together at Wembley, is the big draw in England and the Red Devils have an uphill task against the treble chasing Sky Blues. Meanwhile Red Bull Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt play it out for the DFB Pokal in Germany’s flagship final. Die Roten Bullen are on a six match winning run and will start as strong favourites for that one.
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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