Saturday
November 22, 2014

Europa League

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Outplayed Sevilla lifts trophy

Sevilla players pose with the Europa League trophy after beating Benfica on penalties.

Wins 4-2 on penalties over Benfica after scorless draw

Sevilla defeated Benfica 4-2 on penalties after being outplayed in a 0-0 draw which means that Spanish clubs will make a sweep of European trophies this season as Madrid’s Atlético and Real are due to meet in the Champions League final.

TURIN, Italy — Sevilla beat Benfica 4-2 in a penalty shootout to win the Europa League after a 0-0 draw in the final yesterday, claiming another international title for Spanish soccer.

Sevilla goalkeeper Beto saved two penalty kicks from Benfica forwards Oscar Cardozo and Rodrigo who failed to deceive with stutter-step approaches to the ball. Substitute Kevin Gameiro stepped up to score the decisive kick as the drama played out at the end housing Sevilla fans.

The Portuguese champion had dominated regulation time but was denied by key blocks from Sevilla defenders, and had several appeals for penalties denied by German referee Felix Brych in the second half.

Sevilla, which won the competition for the third time in nine seasons, ensured Spain will sweep the season-ending European club competitions, with Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid meeting in the Champions League final on May 24. Next month Spain will defend its World Cup crown in Brazil and seek to clinch a record fourth straight major international trophy after winning the European Championship in 2008 and 2012.

Benfica extended its streak of losing European finals to eight matches over 52 years since its greatest player, Eusebio, inspired two straight European Cup titles in 1961 and ‘62. Four months after Eusebio died aged 71, the Lisbon club missed another chance to end the unwanted record.

Three early opportunities for Sevilla broke down for Carlos Bacca’s lack of finishing. The Colombia forward failed to shoot when collecting a pass across the goalmouth, drifted offside in a fast break started by captain Ivan Rakitic, and then could not connect with Rakitic’s angled low cross.

Sevilla relied on Beto for a double save, swatting away Maxi Pereira’s looping shot from close range and then parrying Rodrigo’s low drive. Benfica claimed a penalty when Nicolas Gaitan fell under pressure from defender Federico Fazio who poked the ball barely wide of his own goal.

Benfica again finished the half on top, and Beto leaped to tip over Lima’s shot in the 84th. When Beto then lost a deep cross, defender Ezequiel Garay headed over an empty Sevilla goal as the scoring chances continued to go begging.

Bacca could have won it for Sevilla when breaking clear in the 101st minute but his rising shot flashed just wide.

But Bacca, like his teammates, made no such mistake from the penalty spot in the shootout as Sevilla repeated its success on spotkicks in the 2007 UEFA Cup final against Espanyol.

AP

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