Even José Mourinho was unable to stop Sevilla FC’s impressive triumph in the XXL thriller of the Europa League. The star coach and AS Roma lost the heated final in Budapest on penalties 4-1 (1-1, 1-1, 1-0). For record winners Sevilla it was the seventh success in the seventh final of the second largest competition in European club football – and that since 2006. After five wins, Mourinho lost a European Cup final for the first time as a coach. Another triumph would have made him the sole record holder. “We showed once again what Sevilla FC can do. This is our Europa League,” said Sevilla’s Ivan Rakitic.
The Argentinian world champion Paulo Dybala (35th minute), whose starting eleven had been questionable after ankle problems, put Rome in the lead, while Gianluca Mancini (55th) scored the equalizer with an own goal. In the second half of extra time alone, referee Anthony Taylor added over ten minutes of stoppage time.
Gonzalo Montiel converted the decisive penalty for the Andalusians, who qualified for the Champions League with the win. Last year, Eintracht Frankfurt celebrated with the big silver cup.
On Wednesday evening, thousands of fans from Spain and Italy ensured the mood for the final in the chic Puskas Arena. Mourinho stood almost exclusively on the edge of his coaching zone in a dark shirt and shouted instructions onto the pitch.
His Roma, who knocked out Bayer Leverkusen in the semi-finals, needed a few minutes to get back into the game. Leonardo Spinazzola tested Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bounou in the 12th minute. The template came from Dybala, for whom Mourinho had actually announced that more than “20, 30 minutes” of playing time was not possible. In hindsight, it was probably a little psychological trick by the tactics master.
Sevilla’s pros, who had sent a greeting to their seriously injured ex-goalkeeper Sergio Rico before kick-off, initially found it difficult to cope with Roma’s aggressive play. Coach José Luis Mendilibar’s squad tried, if at all, to get past the right flank of 37-year-old captain Jesús Navas near the opposition’s penalty area.
Just as the game seemed deadlocked, Mancini smashed through Sevilla’s defense with a powerful pass, Dybala giving Bounou no chance. The Romans in the arena cheered loudly, and Mourinho also allowed great emotions for a moment. The 60-year-old led Rome to victory in the lower-league Conference League last year – he lifted the Champions League pot in 2003 with Porto and in 2010 with Inter Milan.
And Seville? The record winner of the competition, who had already won the Uefa Cup twice, found no solutions even after falling behind. It was only in the long stoppage time of the first half that former Schalke Bundesliga professional Ivan Rakitic had a great chance to equalize, but only hit the post.
But the second half started to measure for the Spanish club. Roma pulled back – similar to what they did in the second leg against Leverkusen – and tried to manage the lead. Mancini’s own goal, forced through a sharp Navas cross, finally brought Sevilla back into the game. On the other side, Bounou prevented Tammy Abraham from falling behind again (67th). Substitute Andrea Belotti also narrowly missed the second Roma goal (83′) – the game had to go into extra time, which was affected by injuries and both teams were clearly playing at the breaking point.